These shortbread cookies are a magical combination of flour, butter, sugar, vanilla paste, and Kosher salt. They are so simple, yet they can be so elegant, and they are perfect for a holiday table or a gift of Christmas cookies. You can make the dough in advance and refrigerate or freeze it, making holiday baking that much easier. The baked cookies can also be frozen.
This Short Bread recipe comes from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel. The book is big, nearly 400 big pages of heavy stock paper, and includes positively stunning photographs. It's also full of beautifully written stories about the bakery, the bakers, and the various recipes.
I bought the book about two years ago, but it has been languishing on a shelf since then. Silly me. Since I picked it up again, I can't seem to put it down.
Bouchon Bakery Shortbread Cookie Recipe
180 grams (6.3 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
90 grams (1/2 C) granulated sugar
2 grams (5/8 tsp) Kosher salt
5.9 grams (1 tsp) vanilla bean paste
270 grams (1 3/4 C plus 3 T) all purpose flour
2 to 3 T sanding sugar for sprinkling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter with the paddle attachment on medium low speed until smooth.
- Add the sugar and salt and mix on medium low for 2 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and mix for 30 seconds.
- Add half of the flour, and mix until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Repeat with the second half of the flour.
- Place a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter, and mound the dough on top of it. Form the dough into a 5 inch by 5 inch block. Wrap it with the plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
- When ready to bake, place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Roll the dough out to a 9 inch by 9 inch square between two pieces of wax or parchment paper. You may have to pound it a bit with your rolling pin to get it to roll out. If it gets too soft, you can put it back into the refrigerator to firm up.
- With a sharp knife, and using a ruler, score the dough into four 2 1/4 inch wide horizontal strips. Next, score the dough into six 1 1/2 inch vertical strips. Sprinkle the dough with sanding sugar or granulated sugar.
- Cut the dough along the scoring into 24 individual rectangles. Place the rectangles about 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet.
- Place the sheet in the oven, and bake, using convection, for 13 to 15 minutes, or if not using convection, for 17 to 19 minutes.
- Cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, and then move the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to three days.
Slightly adapted from Bouchon Bakery.