(about 36 cookies)
This recipe has evolved for me over the years. I first started making them when I was still a child. It began with a recipe for Pecan Sandies in one of my mum's cookbooks. Sometimes I'd swap out the pecans for walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts.
Some years I made these without nuts. This year I excluded the nuts and browned the butter. They turned out great.. a browned butter shortbread.
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp rum or brandy
2/3 cup icing sugar
2 cups unbleached flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
Heat the butter in a small saucepan carefully until it takes on a medium brown colour. Take care for it not to burn and remove from heat immediately when it's done. Pour into a glass bowl and allow to cool. Add the salt, vanilla and rum or brandy and stir thoroughly.
Heat the oven to 325ºF.
Combine the icing sugar, flour and baking powder. Slowly add it to the butter mixture and stir until you have a firm dough.
Shape the dough into small balls and place them onto an ungreased cookie sheet (or you can use a silicone liner, but this isn't necessary; I use one simply out of habit). These hold their shape so they can be placed closer together.
Bake them for about 20-25 minutes or until they are a light golden brown. Sift the additional icing sugar over them while they are still warm.