Once upon a time, I used to bake. A lot. But then this thing called work got in the way. Luckily enough, I've got a cocktail party at work tomorrow that I have to bring something in for, so I get to bake on a work night!
This shortbread recipe, which I adapted from Martha, is as easy as its results are tasty. Plus you can make a ton of the dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for whenever the occasion requires a fancy snack.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon herbs du provence
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
- 2 cups grated cheese (cheddar or parmesan works well, though feel free to experiment)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
- In a large bowl, mix flour, cayenne pepper, herbs du provence, and salt.
- Add butter. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- With your hands, gently toss the cheese into the crumb mixture until integrated.
- Add in milk and vinegar or Worcestershire sauce. Integrate the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until the mixture comes together as a dough.
- Form mixture into two or three 1-inch-diameter logs, wrap in parchment, and refrigerate until firm -- at least one hour or until the occasion requires.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove logs from refrigerator, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place the rounds on the baking sheet.
- Bake shortbread until golden, about 14 minutes (mine didn't look all that browned, until I flipped them over and realized they were nice and caramelized on the flipside). Refrain from touching the hot shortbread, as they will still be soft to the touch. Cool on a wire rack. The cookies are ready to eat when they feel firm to the touch.