these shortbread are my friend Abby's favorite. Based on the sour cherry shortbread from Macrina, a wonderful bakery here in Seattle, these cookies have a delicious savoriness to them. Because there are so few ingredients, please use the freshest, very best butter you can. You'll be able to taste it, I promise! I usually leave them plain, but you can dust them with confectioner's sugar (like I do when I make them for the holidays) or glaze with royal icing.
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- combine brown sugar and cornstarch in the bowl of a stand mixer. mix on low speed for about 30 seconds to break up any clumps.
- Add flour and salt and mix again for about 30 seconds.
- Drop in butter pieces and continue to mix on low speed, until the mixture is coarsely crumbly. Stop mixing as soon as the mixture starts to come together.
- Add vanilla and mix for 10 seconds to combine.
- Pull dough out of the bowl and divide into two pieces. Place one piece of dough on a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper.
- Roll the dough out until it's about 1/4 inch thick. (I sometimes make these thinner, which bake up crispy; or sometimes make them thicker, which bake up with a lovely toothsomeness)
- Lift parchment paper onto a rimmed baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining piece of dough. Chill both sheets of dough for a minimum of an hour.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove dough from refrigerator and use a cookie cutter to stamp out cookies. Place cookies on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a Silpat, leaving 1 inch between cookies.
- Place one sheet of cookies in the oven (while it's baking, refrigerate the other sheet). Bake on the center rack of your oven for 20-25 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet about halfway through baking.
- Finished cookies will be golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet, and bake the second sheet of cookies.
- Once cookies are cool, you can dust them with powdered sugar, or ice them with royal icing. I like them plain, so that the savoriness of the butter shines through.