There are a handful of glossy Christmas traditions that I’ve only daydreamed about as an adult trying to make the holidays my very own. A few years ago I got my own Christmas tree which means that now I’m the proud owner of a collection of Christmas tree ornaments. I’ve toyed with the idea of a Gingerbread House for a few years now and while I really want to make one, I have yet to muster the energy to build an edible mansion.
This year I did tick off a daydream: the holiday cookie tin – a collection of classed-up homemade cookies, nostalgic and delicious. I made cookie tins this year and sold them at my Bakehouse Holiday Market. Life goal, done!
These shortbread cookies, an iteration of them at least, were part of this year’s cookie tins. They’re simple and classic, made even more charming with holiday sprinkles and bite sized bits. And, seeing as our holiday is literally right around the corner – the ease with which these come together is absolutely welcome.
Really – shortbread is just a few ingredients. The key being, as with most delicious things, BUTTER.
Butter is what makes these cookies flavorful and crisp.
Supporting this butter intake is flour, sea salt (I used a vanilla sea salt), vanilla extract, and just a touch of powdered sugar.
All of the dry ingredients find each other in the bowl.
Flour meets powdered sugar meets vanilla sea salt.
Whisk together the dry ingredients and add the softened butter.
I used electric hand beaters to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture and because there are no eggs or other moisture involved in crisp shortbread, the mixture comes through very shaggy.
To the shaggy mixture, we’ll add sprinkles, lots of them.
A mix with the spatula will inevitably give way to pressing the dough together by hand.
Press into a dough disk.
Immediately roll to 1/2-inch thickness under two pieces of waxed paper and freeze the dough for 20 minutes, just to set it and make it easier to slice into squares.
Before cutting the dough into squares, I press more sprinkles into the top of the dough.
More is more when it comes to sprinkles – ya know?
Slice into squares, just larger than 1/2-inch squares. And the rough dough around the edge can be re-rolled and re-cut into squares.
Look at these little bb bites ready to bake! About 12 to 14 minutes until just browned around the edges will do!
Crisp buttery cookie bites. And what I love is that they’re barely sweet – just a hint of sweetness which is exactly what you want from a shortbread. What they lack in sweetness they make up for in buttery, salty, sprinkley flair.
I see myself making these cookies very often – this dough is so versatile.
Think about adding lemon zest, dried cardamom and orange zest, toasted coconut, or chocolate flakes. There’s very little that this simple dough can’t handle. But for now – holiday sprinkles. Just be sure to tuck this recipe away for every other week from now until forever.