1353100_10151626937977055_625558865_oMy neighbors brought over some Shortbread to share. It had been a while since I had the simple goodness of this buttery cookie. I gobbled up the batch that they had shared with me quickly. The next day, I had to make a batch of shortbread for myself. The recipe is simple and only has three basic ingredients: butter, sugar and flour. I added a couple of extracts to add more flavor. In addition, you can serve as is, or decorate. Here are a few suggestions: Drizzle with melted caramel; Spread with melted chocolate and sprinkle with nuts.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at cool room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional, or the flavor of your choice
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease flat baking pans. If you worry about the shortbread possibly sticking in your particular pans, line them with parchment, and grease the parchment. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract, then beat in the flour. The mixture may seem a little dry at first; keep beating till it comes together. If it absolutely won’t come together, dribble in up to 1 tablespoon of water, until it does. Press dough into the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with your fingers or with a mini rolling pin. Use a fork to prick the dough all over; this allows any steam to escape, and prevents the shortbread from bubbling as it bakes. Prick the dough in a random pattern, but it looks nicer pricked with some kind of symmetry. Bake the shortbread until it’s a light golden brown across the top surface, and a deeper golden brown around the edges, about 35 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and immediately turn each shortbread out onto a clean work surface. Sprinkle with sugar. Using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut into bite-size pieces. Do this while the shortbread is still warm. If you wait until it’s cool, it won’t cut easily. Transfer the shortbread to a rack to cool.