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Tis the season and all of the delicious treats and sweets that accompany this wonderful time of the year. It doesn’t feel like Christmastime until I get in my kitchen and bake some festive treats. What’s better than Christmas cookies? My Christmas shortbread cookies are super simple to make and they taste buttery, sweet, and comforting. I think Santa will approve.

The holiday season is a time to give and show loved ones how much they are appreciated. In my opinion, there is no better gift than something homemade. What’s more, there is no better gift than homemade cookies. Given the option between a fresh batch of homemade, Christmas cookies and a $25 gift card, I’ll take the cookies.

This past week my mom came to visit me in Austin and we had such a great time Christmas shopping, looking at Christmas lights, going out to eat, seeing the Nutcracker ballet, and of course, baking some Christmas cookies. I wanted to bake something that I know will taste great but won’t leave my kitchen in a pastry disaster. Shortbread cookies are the ultimate, quick go-to to celebrate this wonderful season.

For this recipe you will need:

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Sprinkles or decorating sugar

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or large bowl with a hand mixer, mix the butter and sugar until combined. Add the vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on the lowest speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix until the dough starts to come together. You don’t want the dough to be too sticky. It should feel somewhat like play-doh.

Dump the dough onto a floured work surface and work with your hands, shaping it into a flat disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and use this time to clean up. You’ll be happy you did…

Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the fridge and roll it out until it is about 1/2 inch thick. This dough can be a bit difficult to work with because remember, it contains a lot of butter so it isn’t as flexible and giving as other cookie doughs. That’s ok though. Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and place onto an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with the decorative sugar or sprinkles. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

If you want to give these cookies as a gift, just put them in festive holiday bags with some decorative string. Or you can keep them all to yourself. OR leave a few out for Santa. Merry Christmas!

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