Perhaps you've had Sarabeth's fantastic jam (plum cherry is my favorite), or maybe you've visited one of her restaurants (a new one just opened in Tribeca). If not, you can taste the deliciousness in your own kitchen by making her shortbread cookies. The buttery, crisp sweets are amazing, and I thought they'd be a lovely favor for a tea-party bridal shower.
Thankfully, Sarabeth divulged the recipe. Get it after the jump.
"Shortbread cookies are quite easy to make—they traditionally have just a few ingredients, so the buttery flavor really comes through," says Sarabeth. "Sugar sprinkled over the hot baked cookies as they come out of the oven gives them an extra crunch. For special occasions I skip the sugar and dip them in tempered chocolate or brush them in petal dust."
Makes 24 to 30 cookies (depending on the size of the cutter)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar, or petal dust and a small paint brush
1. Position racks in the center and top third of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees. Line two half-sheet pans (18 by 13 inches) with parchment paper.
2. Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the superfine sugar, then the vanilla and lemon zest, beating until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour and salt, 1/3 at a time. Mix each time, scraping down the sides of the bowl to be sure the dough is well combined.
3. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, and knead briefly until smooth. Dust the work surface and the top of the dough with flour, and roll out the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle. Cut out the cookies with a 2-inch cutter, and place them 1 inch apart on the half-sheet pans. Gather up the scraps, roll out, and cut out more cookies until all of the dough has been used. Refrigerate the cookies until chilled, about 30 minutes.
4. Bake, switching the position of the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the edges are very lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the cookies lightly with the granulated sugar. (If you are going to be using the petal dust, do not sprinkle them with sugar.) Cool completely on the pans.
5. If you want to decorate with petal dust, wait until cookies are completely cool, then use a small dry paint brush to dab each color on the tops of the cookies. Dust one color at a time on all the cookies, then proceed with the next color, repeating until all the cookies have been completed. Last, go over them lightly with a 1 1/2-inch-wide clean dry brush to mute the colors.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days.