day 8: shortbread

[the le sauce12 days of cookies]

The most surprising cookie of all the ones I baked. First, the oddest technique: dough baked in its entirety and then sliced–kinda weird to watch the blob spread out, get seemingly too thin all around and too dark/crispy at the end yet completely work. And also, damn tasty. Like, way more tasty than I expected and the most commented on cookie by my lucky recipe testers.

Put whatever holiday spins you must on this classic shortbread cookie, but just make sure you make them.

Shortbread Cookies
Via Cooking by James Peterson

YS note: Feel free to cut the dough into diamond-shaped “lozenges” as Peterson recommends, once it has baked. My dough didn’t spread out as evenly as expected, causing some parts to be thinner and darker in areas. I cut my cookies into squares or different sizes to create more flattering cookies, but all parts, lightly brown and crispier/darker were equally delicious (don’t worry if your dough looks odd as soon it comes out of the oven too.)

1/2 pound butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1¾ cups flour
¼ cup turbinado sugar or additional granulated sugar (optional)

In a bowl with a wooden spoon, or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle blade on medium speed, beat together the butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and the salt for about 7 minutes by hand or 5 minutes with the mixer, or until smooth and creamy. Add the flour and work by hand or on low and then medium speed with the mixer until the dough comes together in a cohesive mass. Flatten the dough, wrap it in waxed paper, and chill it about 15 minutes but not too long or it will harden the dough, making it too hard to handle.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or use a nonstick sheet pan. On a floured work surface, using a rolling pin our your fingers, roll or press the dough into a rectangle about 1/3 inch thick. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Transfer to the prepared pan, cover and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until pale brown on top. Remove from the oven, transfer the log to  cutting surface a, and immediately cut the rectangle into 1-inch-wide strips. Then cut across the strips at about a 30-degree angle every 2-inches to make lozenges. Let cool completely on cooling racks and then pull apart the cookies.

Makes about 20 cookies.