I made a buttload of shortbread this holiday season for people and found a basic recipe that I like to use and transform into a ton of different shapes and funky styles. The original recipe is pretty easy to make, light and fluffy, but super buttery and yummy for all times of the year. A few tweaks here and there to change or add flavours (and baking time, subsequently) is all it takes to bring the recipe from “oh boy, another tin of shortbread…” to “holy crap, that’s a cookie?! Yeehaw!”
All it really takes is a few fun ideas and sweet ingredients to get the dough rolling. My favorite plan for this recipe, after chocolate-covered (which always wins) is to send it on a trip to somewhere sunny and tropical, which you will see below.
Heavenly Shortbread (from Allrecipes)
Makes about 3 dozen small cookies or an 11″ x 15″ pan that you can cut into any size or shape you want!
2 cups unsalted butter (softened, cut into squares)
1 cup white sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
Note: Above is the original recipe. I always add the seeds of a vanilla pod, or you can do a teaspoon of vanilla extract, or sub vanilla sugar for an extra sweet scent. You will also need stuff to decorate cookies. Seriously, anything you want. What I did to summer-ify this recipe (for the employer who loves Hawaii), was add a tablespoon each of lemon zest and shredded coconut plus some chocolate to half of the recipe (and kept the rest for “regular” cookies).
There are a lot of fun variations that you can do with these. There was the summer version for Rhonda, round cookies that were coated in dark chocolate and topped with white chocolate buttons for a vinyl collecting friend, and all of the ones you see above for my coworkers and Christmas hosts. I hope that these cookies spread joy wherever you bring them!