The freezer is cleared out in preparation for my annual holiday ritual: The Stockpiling of the Cookie Dough.
I make about 70 pounds of this shortbread dough in December -- we give away most of the cookies - to customers, friends, roving bands of neighborhood teens. It's my favorite holiday recipe because it's SO simple and still so amazingly good.
You can roll the dough out, cut out fancy shapes. You can decorate them or drizzle them with melted chocolate. But I prefer them plain, naked -- pure, simple perfection.
I started with a recipe from Jeremiah Tower -- but I added vanilla to it and played with the baking time, so I consider it mine, now.
Feel free to consider it yours:
Christmas Shortbread Cookies
1 pound butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups flour
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Mix in flour. Form dough into logs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour. (Logs can be frozen.) Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Slice dough and place slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for thirty minutes.
The cookies should be pale, not browned - so keep an eye on them, as oven temperatures vary.