March 22, 2009

Vanilla Shortbread Dough

[caption id="attachment_35" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Shortbread Cookies"]Shortbread Cookies[/caption]

Shortbread cookies are really my favorite, and the dough can double as a sweet tart dough, making it really a useful part of your repertoire. This recipe requires two types of vanilla: Tahitian vanilla extract and Madagascar vanilla paste. If you aren't familiar with Tahitian vanilla, it's very floral and should only be used when vanilla is the predominant flavor. Vanilla paste is sugar based and uses genuine vanilla seeds for its flavor.

Vanilla Shortbread Dough
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 tsp Fleur de Sel
3 egg yolks
2 tbls Tahitian vanilla extract
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 3/4 cups flour

Cream the butter, sugar, and salt until pale yellow. Add the yolks and two vanillas and mix well. Add the flour all at once and mix until just incorporated.

If making cookies, divide the dough into quarters and roll into logs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. The dough can then be wrapped in foil and frozen for up to two weeks. To make cookies, unwrap a thawed log and cut it into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Bake at 350 for 11 minutes. I generally start checking at 9 minutes and cook until they're just done.

For a tart shell, form a thick round, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Roll out to the appropriate thickness, place in a greased tart pan, and bake blind at 350 for six to eight minutes.


  1. Wow.. I love this recipe, Looks ultra yummy.

  2. Thanks! I just finished making a batch to give as door prizes and the whole house smells like vanilla.

  3. Just by looking at the recipe ..I can tell it's simply superb in taste. So simple yet so divine. Shortbread is one of my favourites too - goes so well with a cup of tea. I have to try this. Thank You for sharing.

  4. Thanks! If you can't get both vanilla paste and Tahitian vanilla extract I'd suggest using Tahitian vanilla bean and Madagascar vanilla extract.

  5. Not sure if they are easily available here...but still....worth a try with similar....though nothing will substitute the original I'm sure for perfection. I have asked family in Europe to see if they can find it over there. Thanks Again.

  6. I have been cooking for a long time, but am not familiar with what fleur de sel is...could you tell me more please? I too, love shortbread cookies -

  7. Thanks! Fleur de sel is a special sea salt. It is hand-harvested on clear mornings when the dew is rising but there is no breeze; workers scrape off the "flowers of salt" before that top layer sinks into the salt pan. You could use regular sea salt or kosher salt, but never table salt. Regular table salt will give a chemical burn to the cookies. With the larger crystals of sea salts, most but not all of the salt disappears into the batter, but some crystals are large enough to leave a trace behind, so some bites have a salt crystal in them, offering a variation on the flavor of the cookies.