Icebox Shortbread Cookies

Icebox cookies are a treat to have around; you simply keep them frozen in logs, and when your next cookie craving hits, it's a simple job to take them out of the freezer, slice them into round and pop them into the oven. This recipe isn't too traditional (most shortbread recipes call for flour, butter and sugar -- almost never do eggs enter the equation), but it makes for a nice crisp cookie. Don't be afraid to add the kosher salt, either -- the grains of salt make for a great contrast with the sweetness of the cookie.

Just before baking, you can press each cookie round into sugar, or a mixture of other spices. Ming Tsai recommends five spice, caramel and macadamia nuts, or chocolate and ginger.

Butter Shortbread Cookies

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp vanilla extract
Interior scrapings of 1/2 split vanilla bean
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour

In the bowl of a mixer, combine butter, sugar and salt. Cream on medium speed until blended, about 2 minutes. One by one, add the egg yolks, mixing until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and the scrapings of the vanilla bean. Scrape down the bowl.

Turn the mixer off and add the butter. Turn the machine to low and mix until the flour is completely incorporated. Remove the dough from the bowl. Working on parchment or wax paper, form dough into 4 logs, 10 inches long and 1 1/4 inches in diameter; wrap and chill.

Slice each log into about 20 rounds. Dip one side of each round into turbinado sugar. Arrange rounds on a parchment-covered baking sheet, about 3" apart. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 15 - 20 minutes. Cool on racks.

from Simply Ming.

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