Can there be anything as delicious, delicate and delightful as a good shortbread cookie and a big cup of milk or hot cocoa? These cookies are one of our standards for Christmas. Sometimes we sprinkle them with a bit of sugar before baking, and sometimes we dip them in melted milk chocolate. However you choose to make them, be sure you start with good quality room temperature butter and real vanilla. Using a 1/2 cup of cornstarch makes these cookies melt in your mouth even faster!

Shortbread Cookies:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until smooth, 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth, another 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix. On the second lowest speed of your mixer, add the flour, cornstarch and salt until combined with the butter. Flatten the dough into a disk shape and place in a baggie, then chill for an hour, or more, if you want to make the cookies later.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Using a lightly floured cookie cutter, cut the dough into shapes. Place cookies on the parchment-lined sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges of cookies are lightly brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

Makes about 2 dozen small cookies.

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