There’s a really old issue of Gourmet on the floor under the coffee table at my house. It’s from December of 2004, and the cover has all these glorious holiday cookies all over it. I’ve been seeing it down there for a week or so, since it was randomly pulled out of my collection of backissues to peruse for dinner recipes. It didn’t yield any of those, but I’ve been itching to make cookies ever since.
These are shortbread cookies. They didn’t come out of Gourmet but from some online site–one of the about.com extensions. They’re tasty and easy to make, so long as you’ve worked with shortbread before. The dough for these cookies and any other shortbread, for that matter, is very dry, and this can cause hand-wringing and dough-throwing if you don’t expect that. It can take a little time for them to come together.
Begin by softening a stick of butter.
Once it’s soft, cream it in your mixer. Add:
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
and blend together.
1/3 c sugar
and slowly add
1 c all-purpose flour
And you’re going to have some very dry dough. At this point I pulled out a big sheet of plastic wrap and dumped my dough on top of it. You want to work it into a log. The problem is that some areas will be very sticky–where the butter melts with your hands–and some areas will be annoyingly dry. Do the best you can, using the wrap as a tool so you don’t get stuck to the dough itself. Pop into the fridge for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 450. Slice the dough into 1/4″ slices, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Any slice that falls apart because it’s dry you can mush up with the others (I had a 2 inch section that wouldn’t slice well) and make a new log for cutting. Bake about 10 minutes, until the bottoms are golden. Makes about 20 cookies.