The Basics: Shortbread Cookies

Buttery and delicious, a simple shortbread cookie recipe should be in every home baker's arsenal. Why? Because shortbread is such a wonderfully versatile dessert.

It can be used as the base for lemon and other bars. It's easy to cut into fun shapes, dip in melted chocolate, wrap in pretty packaging, and give as a gift. Spread with a sweet filling, like nutella or dulce de leche, and you've got quick sandwich cookies. For an elegant dinner party dessert, serve alongside scoops of ice cream or pot de cremes.

However, my favorite way to enjoy the melt-in-your-mouth treat is right out of the oven with no frills, but a generous sprinkling of festively-colored sugar. I've tried many recipes and always come back to this one by the Barefoot Contessa. She is, after all, the master of making blissful basics. See her technique and


Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread Cookies


  1. 3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  3. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  4. 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture.
  4. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together.
  5. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3 by 1-inch finger-shaped cutter. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Alternately, roll the dough into a long, 2-inch cylinder before refrigerating. Once chilled, slice the cylinder into 1/4-inch circles. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Makes 20-30 cookies.

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