I found myself singing ” Silver Bells ” the last few days , it is the holiday season , after all . I was getting ready for all my holiday cookie baking , when I decided to bake up some “silver bells ” , using my true tried and all time favorite shortbread cookie dough . The dough cuts out and keeps its shape once bake very well . They are rich and buttery , so they keep really well for a couple of weeks , making them great for holiday giving and shipping . I think the secret to this simple 4 ingredient cookie is the cold , unsalted butter that provides the smooth rich texture of a cookie that just melts in your mouth ! O and as if that was not enough , classic shortbread is almost always eggless !
Yields about 4 dozen 1 1/2 by 2 inch bars
Photograph by Rahul Mahtani
Preheat oven to 300*F
1/2 lb ( 1 cup cold unsalted butter , cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar ( I prefer superfine , just pulse in the food processor 4 or 5 times )
1/2 tsp table salt
10 oz ( 2 1/4 cups ) all purpose flour
1 tsp good vanilla extract ( I add this as I love vanilla , here a good extract makes all the difference , optional)
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment ( or in a large bowl with a hand mixer ) , combine the butter , sugar and salt on low speed until the butter combines with the sugar but isn’t perfectly smooth , 1 to 2 minutes . Add vanilla , if using , and combine .
Add the flour and mix on low speed , scraping the bowl frequently , until the dough has just about pulled together , about 3 minutes ;don’t overmix .
Roll , cut and bake for 30 to 60 minutes.