Shortbread, theme and variation
2 sticks (8 oz or 1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups of white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2/3 chocolate chunks
2/3 chopped pecans or walnuts
1. Sift the salt and four together and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar in a separate bowl, then add vanilla (and almond extract, if using). Mix in the flour about 1/2 a cup at a time, until the dough is lightly mixed together. It will be crumbly and may not hold together very well. If you are using the variation, add the nuts and chocolate now.
2. Form the dough into a ball, then flatten and shape into two loaves about half to three-quarters of an inch thick. Refrigerate for at least two hours and up to overnight.
3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Take the molded dough and either put it on top of wax paper in a small loaf pan or on top of wax paper on a cookie sheet. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until the edges look barely browned. Let the dough cool and then slice up the cookies into large bite-sized pieces.