Prep 15 mins
Cook 20 mins
I got this recipe from the Food TV website after seeing the cookies made by the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten. It's been my go-to recipe for Shortbread Cutouts for years now, and I was surprised to see that it was not already posted on the Zaar. It's the first recipe for Cutout cookies that rolled, cut and baked with ease for me, just as shown on TV! Not only does it make great holiday Shortbread cutouts, it's the perfect recipe to roll thin and sandwich with your favorite jam, or my personal favorite, cutout using a Kaiser-brand, wavy-edged Square Cookie Cutter and place an After Eight-brand Thin Chocolate Mint between 2 cookies, immediately after removing them from your baking sheet! No matter what shape you make or how you embellish, you will always receive Two Thumbs Up from anyone who tries them!
- 3⁄4 lb unsalted butter, room temperature (3 sticks)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use 2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste)
- 3 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment (I use a standard Kitchen Aid hand mixer with regular blades), cream together the Butter and 1 Cup of the Sugar until they are just combined.
- Add the Vanilla.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the Flour and Salt; then add them to the Butter and Sugar mixture.
- Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk.
- Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
- Roll dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3-inch heart-shaped cutter (I roll the dough between two sheets of flour-dusted waxed paper -- no sticking!).
- Place the hearts on an ungreased sheet pan and sprinkle with sugar (I line the baking sheets with parchment paper).
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (time will vary based on the size/shape/thickness of your cookie dough), until the edges begin to brown.
- Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Leave plain or dip in or paint with melted chocolate or Royal Icing.
- A NOTE FROM INA: The edges of the shortbread are ever so slightly sharper if you chill the cookies before baking them. I cut out the cookies days ahead and bake them the day I serve them.
- For me, I loosely wrap each baked cookie in bakery-type waxed 'tissue' paper and store them in the fridge in a tightly sealed Tupperware-type container -- they will keep for weeks this way and still taste great!
I made these for my youngest daughter's wedding, though the simplest of the desserts served; they were a huge hit! Both my son's later said how they appeared to be a basic little cookie but were just perfect in flavor and texture. I cut out small hearts and filled them with raspberry jam or Nutella, and I believe I added a little almond extract (DD's wedding was 2 months ago - I thought I had reviewed already). I did have a bit of difficulty in the rolling and cutting, but we were going through a heat wave and it was in the low 90's when I made them ( I don't recommend this); to deal with that I put my cutting board with silicone mat in the fridge for a few minutes after cutting the cookies before moving them to the cookie sheet.
Add 2 tablespoons of dried lavender and you will have raves from guests! Great Tea Savory.
I saw a video of Ina making these and she threw all the ingredients in a bowl at once. No need to cream sugar and butter first, which makes this recipe even easier. Dump all the ingredients in a bowl, with paddle attachment, mix until it comes together. Mixture will look crumbly for a while, but leave it mixing - there will come a turning point in the dough where it forms perfectly. I took this to another level and dipped half the cookie in dark chocolate and sprinkled with chopped almonds. They were the most outrageous cookies I've ever made and easy to do, which is a bonus.