Vanilla Bean Shortbread
I can say with almost 100% certainty that Panera Bread is one of my favorite places to eat. I love their seasonal offerings, the simplicity of their meals, and of course the bread. What else do I love there? Their shortbread. It’s the most buttery and sweet shortbread and my mouth is watering as I tell you this. I’m not kidding. I think I especially crave shortbread this time of year. What is it about cooler weather and craving tons of butter?
I’ve tried several recipes in the past but none have seemed to replicate it like this one. I found the inspiration on (where else?) Pinterest. Side note: that site is such a great place if you need some inspiration. But you probably already know that.
Anyway, these cookies are so simple to throw together, they are perfectly sweet and buttery and crumbly, just like at Panera. This recipe can be easily doubled too. I played around with the mix-ins but in all truth, I liked the plain ol’ vanilla bean the best. Feel free to add in your favorite extras!
I’m adding this to my holiday baking list. I already have this recipe down and I made some white chocolate covered pretzels this weekend.
Have you started holiday baking yet? What’s your favorite holiday treat?
Vanilla Bean Shortbread Recipe
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean (see note below)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner.
In a small bowl, sift the flour and salt together. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar for several minutes until light and fluffy. Add the seeds from the vanilla bean and mix until combined. Add the flour/salt mixture in slowly; I added it in a couple of batches, and mix until fully incorporated.
Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap. Turn the dough out onto the plastic and wrap the dough. Roll into a log, about 2 inches in diameter, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the log from the refrigerator and slice into 1/4-inch slices. Place on the baking sheet with about 1/4-inch between each cookie. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until the edges just start to brown.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Makes about 3 dozen small cookies
If you do not have vanilla beans, substitute with 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.
Before turning the dough out onto the plastic wrap, mix in:
*1/2 cup dried cranberries and 1 teaspoon almond extract (I tried this. It's a great combination!)
*1/2 cup chopped pecans and 1 teaspoon maple extract
*1/2 cup white chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
*Or any other combination that your heart desires!
Adapted from Ina Garten