There's something that happens every time I sit down and read a Thomas Keller recipe, I sigh. Everything is so precise, so measured, there are instructions on how to do everything. There are normally ingredients and cooking devices that I don't have in my kitchen. Inevitably, for me, it feels a bit overwhelming, a bit too fussy. And then I make whatever recipe I've been eying, and everything turns out perfectly - and I realize why the recipes are written with such care and instruction.
This shortbread is no exception. I've made other shortbreads before, successfully. But I tend to be an impatient baker, I'm bad at planning out what I want ahead of time. I want to be looking at recipes and eating the fruits of my labor within the hour. Still I followed all the instructions here, including the chilling of the dough and the carefully rolling and measuring of the actual cookies. My boyfriend's response as these perfect squares were coming out of the oven? "These look too perfect - you can't have made them."
Bouchon Bakery Shortbread
180 g unsalted butter, room temperature
90 g granulated sugar
2 g kosher salt
6 g pure vanilla extract
270 g all-purpose flour
24 g granulated sugar, for dusting
In mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth.
Add sugar and salt, and mix on medium-low until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add vanilla, mix on low until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
Add flour in two parts, mixing on low until incorporated before adding the next, 15 to 30 seconds.
Remove from bowl, shape into a 5-inch square, wrap and refrigerate 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Adjust oven racks to lower and upper third. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.
Place dough between two sheets of plastic wrap. Roll out to a 9-inch square. If dough has become soft, refrigerate until firm.
Cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Dust with granulated sugar. Transfer to lined baking sheets, leaving 3/4-inch space between each shortbread.
Bake 17-19 minutes, rotating sheets, top to bottom and front to back, halfway through, until shortbread is a light golden brown.