STEFFI'S TEST KITCHEN: Simple Shortbread

Out of all the potential Christmas goodies that can be created, shortbread has always been my favorite. It is just...simple, and that's comforting to me. Eat it warm, eat them the next day; I think that my brother even likes them half frozen? For most people, favorite recipes carry memories with them. It was my maternal grandmother who passed this down to us from her mother, and when my Grandma's hands were good she did this all without a blender so I do too. This also makes a great recipe for kids to get in on as there are few ingredients to measure, and what kid doesn't want to get hands first into cookie dough?

You will need:
1 cup of rice flour (plus a bit extra for flouring your surface when you roll out the dough)
4 cups of regular enriched flour (good ole Robin Hood works just fine)
1 pound of unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup of BERRY sugar (white, very fine grain)
1 tablespoon of real vanilla extract
A heavy rolling pin, a spatula, a few cookie cutters, baking sheets, & some parchment paper
8 maraschino cherries (red or green or both!) quartered as a garnish, if you like

1. Set your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl cream the vanilla, the butter and the sugar together until as smooth as possible.

2. Slowly add one cup of the regular flour and 1/4 cup of the rice flour. Work in until absorbed.

 3. Repeat step two, three more times until all of the flour has been used up. The dough should now be quite firm; work it into a ball in your bowl.

 4. Flour the surface that you are going to roll the dough out on, and also sprinkle some flour on your rolling pin. Take one 1/4 of your ball of dough and roll it out until its approximately 1.5cm thick and use your cookie cutters to make your shapes. Repeat until you use all of your dough. Garnish each with a piece of cherry if wanted.

5. Use the spatula to gently lift the cookies onto your sheet with parchment paper and bake for 8-10 minutes. Ovens vary, so look for a golden brown color around the edges of the cookies as an indication that they are done.

6. When you first take the cookies out of the oven, the cookies are delicate. Lift the entire sheet of parchment paper off the cookie sheet and on to a cooling rack, or cool surface instead of trying to move each cookie individually and having them break.

 7. Eat those delicious thangs. You may possibly need to repeat this recipe over the holidays; it's already coming that to in my house! How did I do Mom and Grandma?