My love affair with whipped shortbread began early in life, as a young child. I would anticipate these special, cloud-like, melt-in-your-mouth cookies each time we went to visit our dear family friend, Dorothy Sills, who seemed to have an endless supply on hand. They were like magic to me. Fairly unassuming to look at, but the second they hit your tongue the most beautiful chain reaction would occur. Their delicate little structure crumbles effortlessly and then disappears as they melt into the most delicious nothingness. It's euphoric.
Whipped shortbread is hands down my favourite holiday cookie. It is my cookie of choice when it comes to the annual staff cookie swap and is also the cookie I tend to gravitate towards when I find myself in a situation that involves multiple choices.
I enjoy them hot out of the oven, cooled off the rack, by the handful from a tin, and even directly from the freezer. *try it*
Make sure your butter (do NOT use margarine, I'm looking at you Andrea!) is at room temperature before you start. I know that 10 whole minutes seems like an impossible amount of time to wrestle with an electric hand-mixer, but it's necessary. Your arm will get tired and your old hand-mixer may start to smoke, but you can do it, don't give up.
1 lb. Butter (2 cups) 1 cup powdered icing sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 pinch salt 1/2 cup cornstarch 3 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream together butter, icing sugar, vanilla and salt. Gradually add cornstarch and flour. Whip with in electric mixer until fluffy, about 10 minutes. Scoop 1 tablespoon at a time onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Decorate with candied cherries and sprinkles if desired. Bake 12-15 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet and then on wire rack until cooled completely. Store in air tight container at room temperature.