Christmas cookies are everywhere you look these days. This month, magazines have devoted entire issues to them, bloggers and bakers just wrapped a #cookieweek theme on Twitter and cookbooks such as the brand new Gourmet Cookie Book are inundating us with endless options for sweet, buttery goodness.
Every year there is some new trend, some riff on a classic or old favorite, but it is rare that I am swayed. Sure, I try a few new cookie recipes every holiday season, but one variety that I am eternally devoted to are shortbread.
No matter how busy I am during the weeks leading up to the holidays, I always make time for classic homemade shortbread. This simple combination of only four ingredients – flour, sugar, butter and salt – claims to be the best cookie out there and I tend to agree.
If you are bored with the classic recipe, the good news for you is that there are many variations that you can make on the standard, as this type of cookie lends itself very genially to manipulation.
Here are directions for making four different varieties of cookies using the same dough. All are simple to make and don’t require the extra step of rolling dough and cutting shapes (although that is a fine option and the dough works well for that method too).