This shortbread is nothing 'short' of divine. It's a perfect anytime cookie that can be adapted for the holidays with a subtle change in nuts and spices. For the holidays, I tend to add cardamom and pistachios with a bit of almond extract.
Interestingly, the true birthplace of the first cookies, which closely mirror shortbread, lies centuries ago in Persia around 7 A.D. Persia had a strong sugar culture, and its use of refined sugars was renown.
12 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature (substitution: vegan butter)
⅓ cup sugar
1 ¾ all purpose flour
Pinch baking soda
½ cup chopped pistachios (substitution: sliced almonds or walnuts)
Splash of pure vanilla extract & almond extract
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar and extracts for 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Then, add flour, baking soda and nuts du jour and mix until combined.
Roll into 1" balls, flatten into ovals and taper each end to form an almond shape. Space evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Bake at 350°F for 16-20 minutes, until just beginning to turn golden (but largely still light). Let rest for 304 minutes, then remove to a rack or plate and let cool.