Shortbread Dough

Recipe and photo contributed by Stephanie Diehl Yield:  72 single-layer cookies
Prep Time:  10 minutes Cook Time:  0 minutes

Shortbread Dough

This easy-to-assemble and versatile dough forms the base for three different types of cookies: Chocolate Thumbprints, Caramel Thumbprints, and Jam-Filled Christmas Trees. It can be made in advance and frozen for up to 1 month before baking. This recipe makes 2 pounds of dough, or enough for about 3 batches of cookies.


3 sticks (1½ cups/342 grams/12 ounces/24 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 36 pieces

½ cup (114 grams) granulated sugar

3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 cups (390 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

½ teaspoon salt


  1. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or if you are using a handheld electric mixer, in a mixing bowl). Mix at medium-low speed for about 1 minute, until the ingredients just come together. Stop the mixer, scrape down the side of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat for about 1 minute, until combined. Add the flour and salt and mix at medium-low speed for 1½ to 2 minutes, until the dough just comes together.
  2. Flour a work surface lightly. Turn the dough out onto it and pat into a mound. Roll the dough into a 36-inch log, that is even in thickness. Cut the log into 3 (12-inch) pieces. They can use used immediately or wrapped and refrigerated for at least an hour for firmer shapes. The unbaked logs of dough can also be wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month. Bake according to recipe instructions: Caramel Thumbprint Cookies, Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies, or Jam-Filled Christmas Tree Cookies.

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