Vanilla Bean Shortbread

Vanilla Bean Shortbread
Yield: one 9-1/2-inch shortbread or 12 pieces Prep 20 mins Bake 350°F 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsifted bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsifted bleached cake flour
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • Seed scrapings from 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1/4 tablespoon vanilla-scented superfine sugar (see Note below)
  • 2 teaspoons intensified vanilla extract (see Note below)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla-scented superfine sugar, for sprinkling

Make It

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Onto sheet of waxed paper, sift together all-purpose flour, cake flour, rice flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.

3. In large bowl of freestanding mixer, on low speed, beat butter until creamy, 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla bean seed scrapings. Blend in superfine sugar and vanilla. Beat on low speed 2 minutes. Add sifted flour mixture in 2 additions, beating slowly until particles of flour are absorbed and smooth and a soft dough forms. Scrape down sides of bowl once or twice to keep batter even textured.

4. Put dough in 9-1/2-inch round tart pan with removable bottom; press out evenly. Prick in 15 random places.

5. Bake in 350 degree F oven 30 minutes, until shortbread is set and turns medium tan. Immediately sprinkle with superfine sugar. Let cool in pan on rack 10 minutes.

6. Carefully unmold shortbread, leaving it on round pan base. After 10 to 15 minutes, cut into wedges and let cool completely. Store in airtight tin at room temperature for up to 1 week. Makes one 9-1/2-inch shortbread, or 12 pieces.