I absolutely LOVED this shortbread recipe. The texture is devine and the flavor is so buttery. The golden edges are crunchy and caramelly flavored and the vanilla scent while you are eating the shortbread is so intoxicating. I made this recipe twice and the second time I added mini semi sweet chocolate chips to the dough. Oh my word!! Delightful! For the chocolate chip dough, I did not even use a pan. I just placed a piece of parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and handformed a circle of dough - pricked it all over with a fork and stuck it in the oven. I cut the that one into strips. The vanilla dough that I pressed into a springform pan, I cut that one into small wedges - like shown in my photos. Both of the batches were equally wonderful. And if you are looking for a quick recipe to throw together....this is it!
I cannot rave enough about this recipe. You MUST try it. I happen to have all 3 of the flours it calls for but I'm sure it would still be wonderful if all you had was all purpose flour although I do know that rice flour adds that wonderful crunchy texture to cookies. I found my small bag of rice flour at an Asian grocery store. It was inexpensive. Next time I might try sprinkling it with sparkling coarse sugar after baking.
Vanilla Bean Shortbread
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cake flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
1/4 cup vanilla sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vanilla scented sugar
Oven 350 degrees
Sift together all purpose flour, cake flour, rice flour, baking powder, salt & nutmeg.
In large mixing bowl, beat butter about 2 minutes. Add vanilla bean seeds, 1/4 cup vanilla sugar, & vanilla extract. Beat for 2 minutes. Add sifted flour mixture in 2 additions until smooth soft dough forms.
Evenly pat dough into a 9 inch round tart pan ( or cheesecake pan) with removable sides. Prick the dough all over in random places.
Bake for 30 minutes or until shortbread is set & lightly browned. Remove from oven and sprinkle immediately with vanilla sugar. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.
Carefully unmold shortbread - leaving it on the round base. Cut shortbread into wedges then let cool completely before taking it off the round base.