For shortbread, DO NOT use anything but real butter. If you use margarine, or anything like that, your cookies are bound to taste weird and nasty and will definitely come out weird too. Trust me, when I read in one of my cookbooks to use nothing but butter, I needed to test it with margarine. And not to my surprise, the margarine screwed the whole taste and looks up. So, don’t use anything but butter! Also, if the dough seems to be a bit dry, just add a bit of milk.
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar, confectioners sugar)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
White granulated sugar for sprinkling
6 ounces of melted chocolate chips (optional)
Sift flour and salt together. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. If you’d like, you could cream the butter first, and then cream the sugar in.
Beat in the vanilla extract.
Without your electric mixer, gently stir the sifted flour and salt mixture into the creamed butter and sugar, until well blended.
Form the dough into a disk, then wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it in the refrigerator for about an hour (or until the dough has firmed-up).
Preheat oven to 350ºF (remember to place the oven rack in the middle). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (don’t use waxed paper).
Take the dough out of your refrigerator (if you haven’t done so already) and roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to ¼ of an inch thick. Cut into rectangles, squares, rounds, or any shape that you’d prefer.
Place the cookies on the parchment lined baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, or until the cookies have firmed up. The colder the cookies, the more they’ll keep their shape in the oven.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheets before proceeding to cool the cookies on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes.
After the cookies have cooled, dip them in the melted chocolate and enjoy!