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French Laundry Shortbread

French Laundry Shortbread

Katie's final product! (photo by k.k.)

Katie Kwan | Chef's Blade

Editor’s note: Katie recently cooked the desserts for her sister’s wedding; she baked both the cake as well as 400 shortbread cookies to be parting gifts for wedding guests. Here is Katie’s description of baking those 400 cookies!

Glorious shortbread cookie! Simple, though no simpleton, the shortbread cookie speaks to its brevity in ingredients. The list is short. I can count them on my hand, save one possible wiley digit: butter, sugar, flour, vanilla bean, and optional salt.

True to life, I am procrastinating on my wedding cake posting to focus on yet another distraction: cookies — a sometimes food. I got this recipe from the French Laundry, so if you ever doubted its street cred, there you go. In the gamut of shortbreads, this one of the most edited. Truly. It is a blank stage on which butter and vanilla bean dance unfettered.

I altered this shortbread recipe so they weren’t golden and robust like a star athlete. Rather, they were pale, much like that kid with porcelain skin, whose mom made him wear a bonnet all through school, kindergarten to eighth grade.

I love making these cookies because of their aromatic bouquet. I sincerely advise you to pony up the cash for a good vanilla bean. Once split open, these beans will tickle your beak. Admittedly, I love these cookies a little less now that I have had to make 400 of them for my sister’s wedding.

I filed them like records into brown parchment mini loaf pans and finished them off with some ribbon and a button. How fortuitous was it to chance upon someone’s sewing kit full of buttons! What a time to take up sewing — 12 hours before the wedding, halfway through a wedding cake!

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