With only three basic ingredients, Shortbread cookies are one of the easiest cookies to bake. These delicious and crumbly cookies give just enough of that crunchy satisfaction without being overly chewy, and have a hint of sweetness that makes them a delicious after-dinner snack. Plus, these cookies freeze and ship well so they’re great for gifts for relatives and friends who live out of town. This no-sweat recipe comes from recipe book, Baking for Friends, by Kathleen King, owner and founder of Tate’s Bake Shop, and includes several variations to spice up your Shortbread with everything from pecans to lemon and ginger. Makes 32 cookies.

Tates Shortbread

Ingredients
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 lb (3 sticks) cold salted butter

Method
1.Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottom and 2 short ends of a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with a 20-inch length of aluminum foil, pleating the foil as needed, and letting the excess foil hang over the ends. Lightly butter the foil.

2. In the bowl of a standing, heavy-duty electric mixer, combine the flour and sugar. Add the butter and mix with the paddle attachment on low speed until the mixture looks crumbly, about 1-½ minutes. (Add any of the variation flavorings listed below at this point.) Press firmly and evenly into the prepared pan.

3. Bake until the shortbread is golden brown on top and slightly darker around the edges, about 1 hour. Cut into 32 pieces while still warm. (If cooled before cutting, the shortbread will break.) Let cool completely in the pan on a wire cooling rack.

4. Run a dinner knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the shortbread. Lift up the foil “handles” to remove the shortbread from the an. Cut through the previously cut marks into 32 pieces.

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Other variations:

Lemon Ginger Shortbread: Add 1 cup chopped crystallized ginger, 1 cup minced candied lemon peel (or the grated zest of 1 lemon), and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.

Brown Sugar Ginger Shortbread: Substitute 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar for the granulated sugar, and add 1 cup crystallized ginger.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread: Add 1-cup (6 ounces) miniature chocolate chips

Pecan Shortbread: Add 1 cup toasted and finely chopped pecans.

Tate’s Bake Shop, an award-winning bakery nestled in Southampton, NY, is committed to delivering classic and delicious baked goods made with the highest quality, freshest ingredients. Best known for its chocolate chip cookies – voted #1 by Consumer Reports– Tate’s offers a full selection of simple, mouthwatering treats including cookies, bars, cakes and pies.  Owned and operated by Kathleen King who began selling cookies at her family’s farm stand when she was just 11-years old, Tate’s Bake Shop now includes a thriving wholesale operation and a highly successful ecommerce site, www.tatesbakeshop.com.