One of the cookbooks I received for Christmas this year is Sarabeth’s Bakery. I am excited about this book. The first thing I decided to make was her “Buttery Shortbread”.
Also for Christmas, my mother gave me a cookie cutter in the shape of Arkansas. I believe it is part of her ongoing plot to lure me back to my home state. But, I was excited to give it a try. I came across this Buttery Shortbread recipe. It looked easy and I have to tell you they turned out absolutely amazing. And the fact that they were shaped like Arkansas (for the most part) was just extra fun.
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup of superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar, for sprinkling
Position racks in the center and top third of oven and preheat to 350F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper.
Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until the butter is smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the superfine sugar, then the vanilla and lemon zest, mixing until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low. In thirds, add the flour and salt. Mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl to be sure the dough is well combined, until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl.
Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and kneed briefly until smooth. Dust the work surface and the top of the dough with flour, and roll our the dough into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Cut out the cookies with a cookie cutter and place one inch apart on the cookie sheet. Gather the scraps, roll out, and cut out more cookies until all of the dough has been used. Refrigerate the cookies until chilled, about 30 minutes.
Bake, switching position of the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the edges are very lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the cookies lightly with the granulated sugar (the sugar will not stick if the cookies aren’t hot). Cool completely on the pans.