Everyone loves shortbread cookies. Scottish in origin, these rich, tender and crumbly straw colored cookies are delicious, easy to make and pair beautifully with our Amour Merlot.
Shortbread is a classic Scottish dessert that consists of four basic ingredients: flour, sugar, vanilla and butter. The secret to making a good shortbread is to use a high quality butter and pure vanilla extract.
Although shortbread was prepared during much of the 12th century, the refinement of shortbread is credited to Mary, Queen of Scots in the 16th century who is said to have named one of the most traditional forms of shortbread, petticoat tails, baked, cut into triangular wedges, and flavored with caraway seeds.
Shortbread is baked at a low temperature to avoid browning. When cooked, it is nearly white, or a light golden brown. It may be sprinkled with more sugar while cooling. It may even be crumbly before cooled, but will become firmer after cooling.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), whisk the butter until smooth and creamy for about 1 minute.
Add the sugar and whisk until smooth for about 2 minutes then whisk in the vanilla extract.
Gently stir in the flour mixture until incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour or until firm.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch thick circle.
Cut into rounds or other shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter.
Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the middle of the oven.
Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or until cookies are very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
For Chocolate Dipped Shortbreads:
6 ounces semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped.
Place 3 ounces of the finely chopped, semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place it over a saucepan of simmering water.
Once the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat.
Add another 3 ounces of finely chopped chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon until it has completely melted and is smooth and glossy.
Taking one cookie at a time, dip one end of each cookie in the melted chocolate and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Once all the cookies have been dipped in the chocolate, place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, or until the chocolate has hardened.
Shortbread cookies with keep in an airtight container for about a week or they can be frozen.