The last time I tried to make shortbread it was a disaster, it tasted like you were eating chalk. So I did some research, looked at a ton of different recipes and finally decided on this one from William Sonoma. I'm more than happy with it, it's delicious, buttery, melt in your mouth goodness.
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 Tbs. for
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat an oven to 300°F.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on high speed until fluffy and pale yellow (3 or 4 minutes for me). 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 (probably 2 minutes). 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. (I did both)
Using floured fingertips, press the dough evenly into an ungreased 9-inch square baking pan. ( I made a round instead of a square) Sprinkle evenly with the 1 Tbs. 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.