The following is by Galekian master chef and D20NN contributor Abel Mondragon. Measurements and utensil names have been edited for clarity.
Shortbread cookies were the first thing my beloved mother let me bake with her, and the smell of sugar, vanilla and butter bring me back to her kitchen time and again.
Shortbread is very versatile; you can swap or add ingredients to make any number of seasonal variations. During summer, you may wish to add in some orange and lemon zest and a splash of juice into the dough. In winter, we Galekians love to dip a corner in melted chocolate and serve them with hot cocoa. You can even swap out more than half the sugar and add pepper, poppy seeds and a touch of garlic powder to make a savory, crouton-like surprise to a soup or a salad.
But this recipe is for the "gold standard," so called because these cookies come out golden brown. They're simple, but oh so tasty. And they're easy to make when you forgot the gang is coming over; that's why I call it Sanctuary Shortbread!
What you'll need:
1 cup (or two sticks) salted butter, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Granulated sugar for sprinkling
1 egg white + 1 tbsp water for eggwash
Preheat your oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream the butter and powdered sugar together, then add vanilla. Add flour and salt, and mix on high, at least 2 minutes.
Your mixture will be very crumbly. Pinch a bit in your hand. If it continues to fall apart in your fingers, it's okay to add a tiny bit of water, but no more than 1 tbsp. Mash and form a dough ball and put in a freezer for 10 minutes.
Lightly dust an 8"x8' baking pan with flour. Take your cold dough ball and flatten it out into the pan. Then turn the pan over onto a piece of parchment paper.
Cut the dough into 2"x2" squares and place onto your parchment-lined baking sheet.
In a bowl, mix the egg white and water with a small basting brush. Then coat each cookie with the egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Bake for 18-20 minutes. Rule of thumb: If you can start to smell butter, they're just about done!
Let the cookies cool for 5-10 minutes before plating, serving or storing.
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