Shortbread, Three Ways
Basic Shortbread Dough
Yields: 1 batch, or about 18 cookies (Quadruple this to make all three cookie varieties)
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup plus 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
⅛ teaspoon salt
- Whisk together the butter and sugar until it is a very pale, light, and fluffy, about 5 minutes with an electric mixer, longer if you’re doing it by hand. Whisk in the egg yolk and vanilla.
- Fold in the cornstarch, flour, and salt until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Chill the dough for at least one hour, or up to overnight.
Yields: 24 large cookies, or 36 small cookies
2 batches of basic shortbread dough
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Divide the cookie dough into 6 equal pieces. Press the dough into 6 mini 4 ½ -inch tart pans. If you don’t have tart pans, pat the dough into rounds about 4 ½ inches in diameter on a cookie sheet.
- Prick the dough with a fork, and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Cut each round into 4 equal pieces, or 6 pieces for smaller cookies. Chill for about 30 minutes.
- Place the tart pans onto a cookie sheet, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.
- Let cool and serve.
Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies
Yields: about 18 cookies
1 batch shortbread dough
½ cup sunflower seeds (can be substituted with finely chopped nuts)
⅓ cup lemon curd (can be substituted with jam)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Pour the sunflower seeds into a small bowl or plate.
- Roll the dough into 1 ½ - inch balls. Roll the dough balls in the sunflower seeds and placed onto a greased cookie sheet, or a cookie sheet lined with foil. Place the cookies about 2 inches apart.
- Use your thumb to indent the center of the cookie, make a well for the curd filling later.
- Bake the cookies for 15-18 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges. Let cool.
- Place about 1 teaspoon of lemon curd into the center of each cookie.
Jam Sandwich Cookies
Yields: about 12 cookies
1 batch shortbread dough
⅓ cup jam
- Place the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper, and pat into a flat disk. Cover with another piece of parchment paper, and roll the dough with a rolling pin until about ⅛ inch thick.
- Place the dough onto a cookie sheet, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F
- Using an (approximately) 3-inch heart cookie cutter, cut out 24 hearts from the dough. With half of the cookies, use a mini heart cookie cutter to punch out the centers. When you re-roll the scraps, follow the same process of rolling the dough between the parchment paper and refrigerate for about an hour.
- Place the cookie on greased cookie sheets, or cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, about 1 inch apart.
- Bake the cookies, using separate cookie sheets for ones with the centers and ones without the centers. Bake the ones with centers for 15-18 minutes, and the ones without the centers for 12-15 minutes, or until they are slightly golden around the edges.
- Let cool completely. Turn the cookies with the centers upside down, and spread about 1 teaspoon jam on each of them. Top with one of the cookies without centers.