Today I’m sharing a recipe that is very close to my heart and perfect to make this festive time of year: classic shortbread cookies from the famous Rose Bakery in Paris. I have to be honest: I’ve tried a lot of different cookie recipes in my day (emphasis on A LOT). Of all the cookie recipes I’ve made (and especially all the shortbread recipes), this is my absolute favorite and also the most simple. Making it over the years has become a very sentimental act for me: I made this exact recipe for the gift bags we handed out at our wedding years ago and from the first time I made these for my southern grandmother, she has religiously requested that I fill her freezer with them any time I visit. They are JUST. THAT. GOOD. These cookies are as elegantly simple as it gets: rich without being heavy and a texture that just melts in your mouth. Absolutely sinful! This is without a doubt the type of cookie you can build a SERIOUS OBSESSION over.
A few years ago Rose Bakery came out with their first cookbook, Breakfast Lunch Tea, and I immediately grabbed a copy, having heard so much about the bakery’s luxuriously simple French fare. Of all the cookbooks I’ve bought for my personal collection, this cookbook ties with The Secrets of Baking one as the one I refer to most. It has fundamentally changed and shaped the way I cook every single day — no mean feat for a single cookbook! And I own a lot of cookbooks…
The recipes are simple, fresh and timeless, focusing on complimenting the flavors of in-season ingredients with classic French cooking. I’ve worked my way through a good portion of this cookbook and have never been disappointed (many of the recipes I make at least once a month). If you’re looking for a great cookbook to gift this Christmas, and if you want to pick one with SERIOUS impact, I highly recommend gifting a copy of this.
So let’s get baking!
This recipe calls for six ingredients total so be sure to use the highest quality components you can afford — they will make a huge difference in the flavor!Rose Bakery Shortbread Cookies
Excerpted from Breakfast, Lunch, Tea by Rose Carrarini. Reproduced by permission of Phaidon.
Makes about 24 cookies
1 Generous Cup Cold, Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup Superfine Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Bean Paste*
1 1/3 Cups All-Purpose Flour, Plus Extra For Dusting
1/2 Cups Rice Flour
Pinch of Salt
Butter a baking tray and line with parchment paper. In a large bowl, bring together all the ingredients adding in the butter last so it is as cold as possible before being mixed in. Mix until the dough just comes together.
Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface (I always roll out doughs on my marble pastry board since it keeps the dough cool and smooth) and knead until well-blended. From this moment on you will be under the spell of this dough — after kneading, it comes together to form the silkiest, prettiest, smoothest cookie dough I’ve ever worked with. It’s literally swoon-worthy and so much fun to work with that I refer to the kneading stage as “dough therapy”.
Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Use whatever shape you’d like and will have the most fun making (however I would recommend avoiding shapes with lots of sharp corners as they may break off after the cookie is baked). Place cookie shapes on prepared trays and chill in the fridge for about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius). Bake cookies for 15-20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until cookies are just turning golden. Rose Bakery recommends that the cookies should be just barely cooked through and remain pale. Cool and enjoy!
*As always, I’ve substituted the vanilla extract in the original recipe for vanilla bean paste. If you’d prefer a fresher flavored cookie, substitute grated zest of one lemon for the vanilla. You can decorate these cookies if you wish but I love to keep them bare since the flavor and texture are perfect on their own.
Sed Bona Tip: Serve your classic cookies with a timeless digestif of chilled champagne finished with edible gold flakes (you can buy certain brands of champagne with gold already mixed in or make your own like I did. I used these gold flakes but these star-shaped flakes are also a great budget-friendly option).Can you imagine the gifts Santa will leave under your tree if you set out a plate of these cookies with gold-flecked champagne on Christmas Eve???
“Santa Baby… Come and trim my Christmas tree with some decorations bought at Tiffany’s;
I really do believe in you; Let’s see if you believe in me…”
— ‘Santa Baby’ lyrics by J. Javits, P. Springer & T. Springer