Shortbread makes a great holiday gift. This is excellent even without the lemon and rosemary, which I only started adding a couple of years ago to distinguish it from my mother's famous shortbread. (I tried it first with lavender, but my husband referred to that batch as "bubble-bath cookies.")
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour
Yield: 16 wedges
11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) salted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 1/2 cups flour
- Heat oven to 325. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in salt, rosemary, and lemon zest, then add flour and mix until batter starts to hold together and you don't see any dry patches, about 2 1/2 minutes.
- Scrape the crumbly dough (knead for 30 seconds if it's too dry) into a 9-inch glass pie plate, then use your fingers to pat it down evenly. Prick holes all over the top with a fork, then use a sharp knife to score the shortbread into 16 skinny wedges.
- Bake until nicely brown all over, 45 to 50 minutes, then remove from oven and cut immediately in the pan, retracing your lines with a sharp knife. Let cool completely in the pan.
After we took a thin slice for ourselves, the round shortbread went in the square coolie boxes (10-by-10-by-2 1/2-inch, $2 for 6, sugarcraft.com). We lined them with Gemstone tissue ($3 for four 20-by-20-inch sheets, containerstore.com) and tied them with aqua shiny tinsel ($6 for 10 feet, papyrusonline.com). Then we started the car and took a stack out for delivery.