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Shortbread Cookies

Serves: Makes 24 cookies

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13 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons coarse sugar, or additional granulated sugar


Heat the oven to 325 degrees and adjust a rack to the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar, vanilla paste and salt and mix until smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add half of the flour and mix until incorporated, 30 to 45 seconds. Add remaining flour and mix until just incorporated.

Transfer the dough to a clean counter and press into a 5- by 5-inch block. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

When the dough is firm, place between two pieces of wax or parchment paper and roll into a 9- by 9-inch square. Cut into 24 equal rectangles and dock each cookie with a fork. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake until lightly browned and slightly crisp, 17 to 19 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for about a minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve.

Photo: Ramona King

About the recipe

Simple baking at its finest, these are the most perfect shortbread cookies you’ll ever make. The absence of liquid in the vanilla paste minimizes gluten development in the dough, resulting in a tender, crumbly cookie. Coarse sugar adds a final punch of sweetness and an extra crunchy texture on top, but if you can't find it, you can certainly sprinkle your cookies with just a touch more granulated sugar.