I received a Celtic Knot shortbread pan for Christmas from a sweet aunt who understands my love for baking. My neighbor gave me a box of shortbread cookies and I was immediately hooked by the crunchy, buttery, yet melt-in-your-mouth taste of these cookies and had to make them!
You don't have to have a stoneware pan to make these cookies, but they sure are pretty, aren't they? You can use a 9" round cake pan for this recipe (listed as a link at the bottom of this post).
Room temperature salted butter (yes, salted butter is used. If you use unsalted butter, add 1/4 t. salt per stick of butter) is beaten till light and creamy. Powdered sugar, is weighed (yes, I weigh my ingredients whenever possible!) and added with vanilla and almond extract if desired.
Unbleached all purpose flour is added. The mixture may seem dry ...
but keep beating until the dough comes together.
I cut this recipe in half for a couple of reasons. First, I only had one stone pan, and second, I wanted to see how this recipe turned out, and third, I didn't need a whole batch of butter cookies to wreck my diet, right?
Lightly grease your pan. (I used canola oil) If you are using a 9" round cake pan, you can grease it, line it with parchment paper, and grease it again. Trace a circle on your parchment paper, using the 9"round pan as a guide and cut it to fit your pan. This will help the cookie release nice and easily.
Press the dough into your prepared pan. I found that it is easier to use a piece of plastic wrap to help press and smooth the top of the dough.
I totally forgot to do the next step: prick the top of the dough with a fork to prevent the dough from bubbling. After baking to a light golden color, it looks like there are no bubbles on the surface.
Find a thin, thin, knife and run it around the entire edge of your pan. My offset spatula worked great.
Place a pan or cutting board on top of your baked cookie and flip it over to release.
I gingerly lifted the pan, expecting a big crumbly mess....
Yay! It looks beautiful!
Use a sharp knife to cut each round in wedges, and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
These cookies were even better than the store bought shortbread cookies ~ crunchy, light, buttery, and melt-in-my-mouth delicious! This basic recipe would be great with any of your favorite extracts: almond, lemon or drizzled with white/dark chocolate.
This is a very simple, easy, and elegant recipe to make with all the ingredients readily on hand. A great idea for a last minute gathering!
Buttery Shortbread Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners sugar (4 oz)
2 t. vanilla extract
¼ t. almond extract, optional or the flavor of your choice
2 c. unbleached all purpose flour (8.5oz)
Preheat oven to 300°. Lightly grease two round 9” cake pans or line with parchment and grease the parchment.In a med sized bowl, beat butter till light. Add sugar, vanilla, and almond extract, then beat in flour. Mixture may
seem dry, but keep beating till it comes together. Add up to 1 T. of water if needed for a stiff dough. Divide dough
in half and press each into prepared pans, smoothing tops with fingers or mini rolling pin. Prick tops all over with
a fork. Bake until light golden, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately turn out onto clean work
surface. Use a sharp knife to cut each round into 12 wedges; transfer to wire rack to cool.
Drizzle w/melted caramel, chocolate and sprinkle w/nuts. Spread jam on top and crumble a cookie or two on top.
Add ¼ -1/2 t. eggnog flavor to dough in place of almond extract.
Ginger: 1/3 c. finely diced ginger + 1 t. powdered ginger.1/8t. butter rum flavor +1 c. diced toasted pecans.