Shortbread has limitless variations – try adding grated citrus zest, spices or fresh herbs, finely chopped nuts or chocolate, loose leaf tea, a scraped vanilla bean or maple extract. Play with the base dough by swapping brown sugar for white, or 1/4 cup cocoa for 1/4 cup of the flour. The dough can be shaped into a log, chilled and sliced, patted into a pan and baked, then cut into wedges, rolled and cut into shapes, or rolled into 1-inch balls and flattened with a cookie stamp.
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and salt with an electric mixer for 2 minutes, until pale and light. Add the flour and stir just until you have a soft dough. Shape the dough into a log and chill, or roll and cut, or pat into two 8-inch cake pans.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Slice or shape or roll and cut the dough, place on a parchment-lined sheet and bake for 12–15 minutes, or until pale golden around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes about 2 dozen shortbread cookies.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, Winter 2017.