Shortbread Cookies

When I’m looking for new recipes or inspiration, my go to sources tend to be or various other food blogs. Though I still use cookbooks, I find that I can more quickly locate the “right” recipe or broaden my search using the internet. I suppose this all has to do with the generation I was brought up in, which places heavy emphasis on the blogging, food apps, and Google.

Not everyone is like me though -- my mom for example is much more likely to consult her impressive collection of cookbooks than turn on the computer. When I was little, I remember waking up most Saturday mornings to see her surrounded by ten or so open cookbooks and Bon Appetit Magazines, trying to decide what to make for that weekend. Tomato basil soup? Risotto with peas? Spaghetti with lemon and shrimp? When she had decided on a recipe, she would write the ingredients out carefully by hand on a shopping list -- no consulting her smart phone while at the supermarket.

Of all my mom’s cookbooks, the most used and loved is her Silver Palate Cookbook, written by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso in 1982. This enormous book is similar to an encyclopedia – it contains recipes not only for the basics, like homemade tart crust and apple pie, but also more creative dishes like pasta with tomatoes and brie and their famous Chicken Marbella (chicken made with red wine vinegar, garlic, capers, brown sugar, and prunes—a mix of ingredients that seems odd and then completely makes sense when you eat it). Judging by the dishes my mom always made from this cookbook, the recipes are foolproof – each one I’ve sampled has been superb. 

This recipe for Shortbread cookies is no exception, and tops my “Favorite Cookie” list (yes, I do rank my cookie recipes). Made with only five ingredients, they are sweet yet salty, buttery and crunchy, and absolutely addictive. There are no chocolate chips, frosting, or glaze to be found here, which is just fine – these are simplicity at its best. For me these cookies are a must on Valentine’s Day if you use a heart shaped cookie cutter, but they are also great with tea or as an elegant, understated way to end a fancy dinner. Note that if you wanted to dress them up a bit, you could dip them in dark chocolate. Enjoy!




3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla


Cream the butter and powdered sugar together until fluffy. Stir the flour and salt together and add to the butter and sugar mixture. Add the vanilla and blend thoroughly. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in waxed paper, and chill for 4 hours.

Roll out the chilled dough to a thickness of ⅜ inch. Using a 3-inch-long heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out the cookies. Sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar  if desired. Place the cut-out cookies on ungreased cookie sheets and refrigerate 45 minutes before baking.

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