Rich and buttery shortbread is a staple cookie in the British Isles, especially at Christmas time. This holiday season, host an authentic tea party for your kids, starring a batch of shortbread.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar for about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Blend in the vanilla extract and salt. Lower the speed and mix in the flour.
Shape the dough into a disc and place it between 2 large pieces of waxed paper. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough between the waxed paper until it is about 8 inches in diameter. If the dough is too soft, refrigerate or freeze it for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the top sheet of waxed paper.
Using a plate slightly smaller than the dough as your guide, trim off the uneven edge of the dough with a sharp knife and discard.
Invert the circle of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. With the tines of a fork, form a decorative border around the outside edge of the circle. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the circle into 8 or 12 wedges.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the edges of the shortbread start to brown. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Using a large, sharp knife, retrace the cuts previously made.
Move the shortbread to a wire rack and cool completely. If desired, dust the top of the shortbread with confectioners' sugar. When cool, store in an airtight container at room temperature. These cookies freeze well. Makes 8 to 12 cookies.