One day I was making a cookie base for some bars and I accidentally mixed in twice as much butter as the recipe called for, but couldn't bear to throw away the dough. I spread the dough in a square pan, baked it, and produced this delicate shortbread that melts in your mouth.
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 pound (2 sticks) soft unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Have ready a 9 x 9 pan with 1- to 2-inch sides.
2. Sift the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder together and set aside. Put the butter in a large mixing bowl and mix with an electric mixer on low speed for 15 seconds. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, until the mixture lightens slightly in color and looks fluffy, stopping the mixer and scraping the sides of the bowl once during the mixing. Decrease the speed to low and mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture, mixing until a smooth, sticky dough forms. Use a thin metal spatula to spread the dough evenly in the prepared pan.
3. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the top is evenly golden. Use a small, sharp knife to cut the warm shortbread in 5 rows lengthwise and 5 rows across, cutting through to the bottom. Cool thoroughly in the pan on a wire rack.
Place the bottoms of 2 cookies together and wrap them in plastic wrap. Put the wrapped cookies in a metal or plastic freezer container and cover tightly. Label with the date and contents. Freeze up to 3 months.
Defrost the wrapped cookies at room temperature. Store leftover cookies, wrapped in plastic wrap, up to 3 days at room temperature.
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Excerpted from 125 COOKIES TO BAKE, NIBBLE, AND SAVOR by Elinor Klivans Copyright© 1998 by Elinor Klivans. Excerpted by permission of Broadway, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.