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Basic Shortbread

Yield 1 dozen
Shortbread is made from a few basic ingredients, and the results are sensational. The key to success with this thick shortbread is baking it slowly so that it doesn't brown.


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (we tested with King Arthur)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

How to Make It

  1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Stir in vanilla.

  2. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed until blended.

  3. Roll dough to 1/2" thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut with a 2 1/2" round cutter or Christmas cookie cutter. Place 2" apart on an ungreased baking sheet.

  4. Bake at 275° for 50 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

  5. Note: Unbleached flour is the best-quality, freshest flour for baking and is particularly good in simple recipes like shortbread. Other kinds of all-purpose flour work fine in this recipe, too.

Christmas with Southern Living 2002