Shortbread is a wonderful starting point for all kinds of sweet adventures: top it (nuts, chocolate, jam); flavor it (lemon, hazelnut, coconut); or do both (cappuccino with a mocha ganache drizzle, anyone?) Then again, if you're a "make mine vanilla, please" kind of guy or gal, leave it alone: it can stand on its own in perfect simplicity.—Taste of Home Cooking School
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional
- 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- Melted caramels or chocolate, optional
- Chopped nuts, optional
- In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, vanilla and almond extract if desired. Add flour, beat until a stiff dough forms. Divide dough in half. Press into two greased 9-in. round baking pans. Use a fork to prick the dough over the entire surface randomly or in a pattern.
- Bake at 300° for 35 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Immediately turn out onto a cutting surface. While warm, cut into 12 wedges using a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve plain or drizzle with melted caramel or chocolate and sprinkle with nuts if desired. Yield: 2 dozen.
Originally published as Shortbread in Taste of Home Cooking School Collection Winter 2009, p89
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