My favourite Christmas cookies are Shortbread cookies; you know the kind that starts disintegrating and dissolving as soon as you take a bite before you even start chewing. I guess butter does make everything better. When I asked my sister for suggestions on what to include on the site that’s festive, her immediate request was to bake these Shortbread cookies. This one is my perfected recipe that I go back to time and time again. You need patience to bake these but they are well worth the effort and won't fail to impress your taste buds. Plus, it doesn't hurt that it leaves the entire house smelling like Christmas. For those of you on a diet, Christmas comes around once a year - live a little, eat a Shortbread cookie.
P.S. Surely Santa will appreciate a few of these. (Also, I hope you guys know Santa is Canadian, after all he lives in the North Pole and dresses in red and white).
- unsalted butter - 2 cups
- confectioners sugar - 1 cup
- corn starch - 2/3 cup
- all purpose white flour - 3 cups
- pure vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
- salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- crushed walnuts - 1/3 cup (optional)
- crushed pecans - 1/3 cup (optional)
Dry Ingredients: Incorporate 3 cups of flour, 2/3 cup of starch and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt together in a bowl by mixing it with a whisk.
In a separate large bowl, use room temperature butter and whip until it gets creamy with a handheld beater, then add your confectionar’s (icing) sugar and once that’s mixed, pour in 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. At this point, little by little add your dry ingredients and use the mixer until the mix almost looks like shreds. Then it’s time to clean your hands and start kneading the mix. Once fully kneaded, I split the cookie dough into 3 parts – one part for pure, simple shortbread cookies, one part mixed with crushed walnuts, and one last part with crushed pecans.
Crush the nuts by inserting a 1/3 cup into a sandwich bag, pound them then incorporate it into your dough and roll it into a ball. Once the 3 separate cookie dough balls are ready, wrap each one with saran wrap and chill by refrigerating it for 1.5 hours. This will make the dough easy to roll out, hold it’s shape and avoid shrinkage while baking.
When ready, disinfect and scrub down the counter, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set your oven to 300 degrees. I own these awesome reusable silicone cookie sheets my sister bought me that doesn’t require any lining and it’s easy to roll up and store away when not in use.
Sprinkle some flour on your counter and on your rolling pin, then roll out your dough to about 1/8" inch thickness. Use your favourite cookie cutters to punch out some festive shapes. If you are purchasing new cookie cutters, I suggest you purchase metal ones and not the plastic ones – it makes a difference. Place your cut out shapes on your cookie sheet, pop them in the oven and let them bake for about 9 to 12 minutes. Timing is key, I let my plain shortbread cookies bake accidentally for 10 and they turned slightly brown around the edges. Shortbread cookies are meant to look pure and clean, with no browning whatsoever. Monitor your oven like a hawk about 2 minutes before you're supposed to take the cookies out - you may need to give or take a minute or two depending on your oven. After 10 to 12 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and let the cookies cool before you remove them (it only takes about 10 minutes to cool, otherwise your cookies will break). The great part is, once one batch is in the oven, you have just enough time to prep your second batch and insert it in the oven while the first batch cools. I ended up baking 4 batches and was able to get 52 cookies (again depends on the size of the cookie cutters you use).
Dust them with some confectionar’s sugar before serving for a pretty added touch.