Shortbread has been my downfall during two distinct periods of my life:
1) When we lived in Australia, my sister and I had a "babysitter" (I don't know what else to call her. Really, I was 16 years old, but my Mom needed someone to drive us around and make us food, etc. Enter "Gaye", our paid friend!) who loved to bake these GIANT shortbread cookies that were the size of hockey pucks, I kid you not. I was at an awkward phase (read: a little round... just a tiny bit zaftig) where I utilized absolutely no self-control when it came to sweets... Gaye would pack me about three of these cookies in my lunch each day. Gaye herself was about 90 pounds soaking wet. She never ate any of her cookies. (Not like she'd even be able to, because they went from pan to my mouth at the speed of light.)
2) When I studied abroad in Scotland, I reignited my forgotten affair with shortbread (dare I proclaim it the national cookie of the Scots?). The combination of the cold, cold temperatures, short days, and constant rain that made up the climate during my time on the North Sea resulted in a great deal of comfort food eating. Shortbread filled that void nicely. (Usually washed down with a few pints of Tetleys at Ma Bell's!)
Anyway, I'm harkening back to those days by including a little shortbread in my holiday cookie platter. Chocolate shortbread, that is. Having already made almond butter cookies & peanut meltaways, I feared my cookie collection was feeling rather "beige"... Chocolate to the rescue!
Shortbread is the easiest thing to make because it has a short ingredient list and low-skill requirement prep. Enjoy... but beware, these are addictive (and butter-heavy!)
Chocolate Shortbread - makes 16 bars
1.5 sticks of butter, unsalted, softened
1/2 C. sugar
2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
1.5 C. all-purpose flour, sifted
Preheat oven to 300 F.
Cream the butter and the sugar in a stand mixer until light an fluffy.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave (1/2 power, stirring every 30 seconds until melty).
Add the chocolate to the butter mix and stir to blend. Add the sifted flour, and stir some more until well-combined.
Press mix into a buttered 9x9 inch baking dish.
Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a rack 15 minutes. Then, use a knife to cut into 16 squares. Leave in the pan until completely cool before removing.