1 cup (2 sticks/8 oz/226g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tbsp. for sprinkling
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat an oven to 300°F/150°C.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on high speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the confectioners’ sugar and the 1/4 cup granulated sugar and continue beating until the mixture is no longer gritty when rubbed between your thumb and finger. Beat in the vanilla.
Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed or stir with a wooden spoon just until blended.
Using floured fingertips, press the dough evenly into an ungreased 9-inch square baking pan. Sprinkle evenly with the 1 tbsp. granulated sugar.
Bake the shortbread until the edges are golden, about 1 hour. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately use a thin, sharp knife to cut the shortbread into strips 3 inches by 1 inch. Use a toothpick or the tines of a fork to decorate the shortbread with a pattern of dots. Let the strips cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes before transferring them to the rack to cool completely.
Makes 27 bars.
Date: February 26, 2006