13. Shortbread Cookies

Holiday Shortbread on Bake Chocolate Cake - Countdown to Christmas
Shortbread cookies have become a holiday tradition in our family. Most of the time I buy Walker's Scottish shortbread because it is really good and they have fun shapes during the holidays.

Homemade shortbread is also delicious and it is very simple to make with just four ingredients.  It is extremely important to use high quality butter in this recipe!

Shortbread Cookies

2 cups flour
1 cup butter, soft
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix all of the ingredients until the dough is smooth and holds together.  In the beginning it will look like dry crumbs.  When you pinch it between your fingers it will come together.

Divide the dough in half.  Press each half into an 8-inch round tin.  (I line my cake pan with parchment paper to make it easier to remove) Spread the dough evenly and flatten the top with the palm of your hand.  Using a fork make a decorative border around the edge.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Remove the pans from the oven and using a toothpick poke holes in the dough forming lines as if you were cutting a pie.  The holes from the toothpick will make it easier to slice the shortbread when it is finished baking (It's like connect-the-dots!)

To decorate the shortbread poke holes on the surface with a toothpick.  This will also let some of the steam escape during the second half of baking.

Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of sugar over the shortbread.  Repeat with the second pan.

Return the pans to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.  The shortbread should be golden brown.

Remove the pans from the oven and tip them onto a cutting board.  With a large knife, follow the pattern of the toothpick holes to create slices.  Carefully move the shortbread pieces to a rack to cool.

Shortbread can be stored in a sealed container for several weeks.