I am thankful a coworker pointed me towards this recipe for an easy shortbread cookie which I made in mass this year for two cookie exchange parties.
The bite-size pieces are addicting, my family could not stop sneaking bites as I baked them in the kitchen.
1 cup (226g) salted butter, cold and diced into 1 Tbsp pieces (I use Kerrygold Irish Salted Butter, 227g)
2/3 cup (142g) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/4 cups (318g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons nonpareils sprinkles
Use parchment paper or plastic wrap to line a jelly roll pan or rimmed baking sheet, leaving a 1-inch overhang on all sides. Spray with a non-stick spray or use butter to grease.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until well combined. Beat at a low speed for 30 seconds to get the butter creamy and whipped. Add the sugar and beat on high until it's a pale ivory color that looks fluffy and feels like grainy, soft clay. If you don't have a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, use a hand mixer. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically.
Mix in almond extract. I read that tasters cannot tell a difference between almond extract and imitation extract. This is good news for me, since I like to use what I have on hand.
Turn mixer to low speed and slowly add in flour and until combined. This step may take several minutes. It will appear dry and sandy at first, but it will start to come together and look like dough.
Mix in the sprinkles.
Press dough into an even layer in prepared pan, using the bottom of a flat pyrex dish to help smooth it out.
To fill my jelly roll pan I repeating this recipe three times.
Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Lift dough from pan using parchment overhang and cut into 1/2-inch squares using a large sharp knife or a pizza cutter. Sprinkle more sprinkles over the top if desired and gently press into dough.
Transfer about 1/3 of the cookies to an unbuttered baking sheet, leaving a little less than 1/2-inch in between each cookie dough square. Do not line the pan with parchment or a silicone liner, there is enough butter in the dough to keep it from sticking.
Bake in preheated oven for 13 minutes.
Repeat process with remaining bites, adding them to a cool baking sheet.
Cool completely then transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature