This classic shortbread cookie recipe from Ina Garten has always been one of my favorites! It's the perfect holiday cookie recipe, so easy to make and so versatile. Using a base of only five simple ingredients -butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, and salt- you can make a variety of shapes and flavors. You can ice them, dip them in chocolate, add crushed pecans or pistachios, cinnamon or other spices, dried fruit, or simply enjoy them plain with some sprinkled sugar. I hate to use the word "plain"... these cookies are anything but plain, they are extraordinary!!
3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 to 7 ounces good semisweet chocolate finely chopped (or whatever chocolate you have on hand.)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- In an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and 1 cup of sugar. Add the vanilla.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt.
- Add the flour and salt mixture to the butter and sugar. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes, until firm but still pliable.
- Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick on a lightly floured surface and cut with a shaped cookie cutter of your choice. If you don’t have a cookie cutter, you can use a knife. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Melt chocolate for 30 seconds. Stir until completely smooth and slightly cool. (heat a few additional seconds if not melted).
- Dip shortbread in your melted chocolate, or drizzle the chocolate across the top of each cookie