Hearst Castle Shortbread

I baked these for my former manager who was moving back to Scotland. The recipe was used at Hearst Castle. Hearst Castle was the 127-acre estate of William Randolph Hearst near San Luis Obispo, CA. I picked the recipe because my aunt lives near and used to be a tour guide there. Although not a traditional Scottish recipe, it did meet with approval from my Scottish manager (as well as everyone else).
These are light and buttery, as well they should be with a pound of butter in them. I also liked that they made a large number. I'm thinking they would be a great addition to any Christmas cookie pile. And since Thanksgiving is over that means it is officially Christmas time and time for Christmas cookies.

Hearst Castle Shortbread

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 pound unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat again, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl once or twice as you are mixing.
3. Beat in the vanilla extract. If you have a vanilla bean slit it open along its entire length, scrape out the vanilla bean paste from the interior of the bean, and add this to the mixer as well.
4. Add the flour mixture in two additions. Stir until everything comes together into a thick dough.
5. Turn the dough out onto a countertop and divide into two pieces. Press each piece of dough out into a flat patty an inch thick. Wrap each piece in plastic and chill completely in the refrigerator - about thirty minutes.
6. Roll the dough out to 1/4-1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough into desired shapes using cookie cutters or a knife. Place on a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet.
7. Bake for 7 - 10 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are barely golden.
Recipe from 101 Cookbooks
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  1. Cookies looks crunchy and tasty, definitely a good one for christmas desserts!
    Nice work.

    June Allyson

    1. Thanks! They were also super easy, which is why there aren't any pictures of them in process, since I whipped them out so quickly. I bet they would be great with a cup of hot cocoa!

  2. YUM! I don't miss my job at The Castle when it's rainy and windy, like it is today. I don't remember anyone serving these delicious cookies either!

    1. I can't remember if I've ever actually been there. I did like thinking about you while baking them.

  3. I read your blog from time to time and, I'm not positive, but I think we were on the same flight from Boston to Seattle this weekend. Is that possible?

    1. I did fly from Boston to Seattle this weekend (Saturday night on JetBlue) so it is very possible!