Hmm, shortbread cookies. I’ve never really been a huge fan of them; I always found them a little bland and boring in the grand scheme of the delicious cookie world. My sister Caroline has been obsessed with the shortbread cookies at a bakery in Pt. Reyes since before I can even remember. I would usually opt for a scone or lemon bar when we visited, while she’d sometimes buy out the entire stock of shortbreads for the day. My mom found this recipe from a friend at work, and I was of course speculative about them due to my aversion to boring cookies. She raved about them, so I gave them a try when my mom made them…and oh man, they were so good. The perfect texture, not crunchy or crumbly…just right. I think it truly helped that she used top-notch ingredients. By using Plugrá European style butter and vanilla bean paste instead of just extract, they were completely delicious. Not in anyway bland or boring. The recipe comes from the November 2011 issue of Fine Cooking magazine, and I decided to add in some lime zest to give them a summer kick. You can use lemon or orange zest instead if you’re feeling a different citrus, or just leave it out and have straight vanilla cookies.
Measure out the flour, cornstarch and salt into a medium bowl and mix together with a whisk. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla and zest on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy.