One of the best ways to showcase the taste of naturally sweet pure butter is in a shortbread cookie. Simple to make, they require only four ingredients and a light touch. Minimal handling of the dough will reward you with a finely pored cookie that has a tender, crumbly texture.
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Coarse sugar for sprinkling
Position one rack in the middle of the oven and another just above it. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl on low speed for two minutes. The mixture will not look smooth. Add the flour all at once and mix on low speed for three minutes. The dough will feel soft and slightly sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a board dusted with flour and roll out to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to the baking sheets, leaving an inch between cookies. Sprinkle with sugar. Gather the scraps and roll out a second time.
Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, rotating the sheets every 15 minutes. The cookies are done when the tops appear dry, not cracked. (These cookies should not be heavily browned.) Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely before storing in an airtight container or freeze for up to a month.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.