Strawberry Shortbread

Strawberry Shortbread

Enjoying a fresh, Arkansas strawberry is the promise of spring. Pile freshly sliced strawberries on top of these cookies for a sweet afternoon treat. Top with whipped cream for an added touch.

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp almond extract
2-2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt
coarse sugar, optional

Mix softened butter and almond extract together until smooth. Shape into a log, cover, and refrigerate until firm. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Break or cut butter mixture into small pieces. Cut butter mixture into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling together. Knead dough until smooth; form dough into a ball. (Dough will eventually come together during kneading from the warmth of your hands.)

Divide dough in half. Roll each portion of dough to ¼-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out dough rounds or squares with a scalloped edge 1-1/2 to 2-in cookie cutter. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes for 1-1/2 inch cookies or 14 to 16 minutes for 2 inch cookies, or until edges just start to brown. Transfer cookies to wire racks and cool completely. Sprinkle cookies with coarse sugar while still warm, if desired. Let stand until set. Top with sliced fresh strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Bonner Cameron at Bistro Catering.