Shortbread or “pasta frolla” is a basic buttery and mildly sweet dough extremely versatile and easy to prepare: it can be used for cookies, pies, crostata…It can be topped and flavored following your taste: chocolate chips, sugar confetti, nuts, jam, chocolate spread, peanut butter are just some toppings you can choose from. Vanilla, orange, coconut, hazelnut, lemon will delicately modify the taste.
I really like using the shortbread to bake cookies because butter + sugar + flour produce a tender/crumbly cookie that’s ridiculously easy to make and sooo good. Also, I like the cookies to be thick (1/2 inch) so that they do not dry out once baked.
My kids really love shortbread cookies, so I love playing with different cookie cutters and surprising them at breakfast with new cookie shapes.
Here you are what you need for a big batch of cookies: 60 small cookies or 30 big ones (I baked three baking sheets full of small cookies…)
How to proceed:
– Prepare the ingredients. Sift the flour.
– in a food processor add the flour, a pinch of salt and the COLD butter cut in cubes. It is very important to use cold butter, not room temperature.
– Let the food processor work for 2/3 minutes. The butter will partially mix with the flour forming a so called “wet sand” consistency. This is a very important phase to give the cookies a final lovely grainy texture.
– transfer the buttery flour mix in a big bowl and add the orange zest, the orange extract, the vanilla extract, the egg yolks and the powdered sugar (sifted)
– start mixing using a fork and when the yolks will be nicely mixed keep working the mix with your hands. The warmth of your hands will slowly melt the butter in the mix so that the dough will nicely come together.
– transfer the dough on a flat surface and keep kneading it with your hands in order to obtain a uniform, elastic dough
– wrap the dough in some parchment paper and store it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to get cold and firm
– unwrap the dough and using a second foil of parchment paper on top roll the dough with a rolling pin and flatten it into a 1/2 inch layer
– have fun using any cookie cutter shape that you like.
– bake the cookies in the preheated oven at 400F/200C for 10 minutes. Enjoy!!!