1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt
Sparkling sugar (coarse crystals of sugar sold for decorating; optional)
1. Place all ingredients except sparkling sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well blended. Then process until the dough holds together. If using a stand mixer, mix on low until the ingredients are blended and then increase mixer speed to medium until the dough is no longer crumbly. (To make basic shortbread wedges, proceed with this recipe. For others, proceed with recipe variation of your choice.)
2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Press basic dough into a 9-inch round cake pan. Prick in a pattern with a fork if desired. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar if desired.
3. Bake 35-40 minutes, turning the pan once or twice during baking. The shortbread is ready when the edges are just very very light brown and the top is dry. Turn off oven and leave in, with the door propped open slightly.
4. While still warm, cut with the pointy end of a thin knife into 16 wedges. Leave in the pan until completely cool.
- From Anna Herman
Per serving: 183 calories, 2 grams protein, 18 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams sugar, 12 grams fat, 31 milligrams cholesterol, 156 milligrams sodium, no dietary fiber.