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Walnut Shortbread

A good piece of shortbread and a hot cup of tea is about as good as it gets in my book. This is another one of those oh-so-simple cookies that delivers a rich indulgent flavor without a lot of work. Make sure you prick or skewer the dough before you bake it to release steam while it is baking and keep the dough flat. You could do it randomly but I think it looks nice in a pattern. Cutting the dough before it bakes also helps to prevent it from crumbling later.

Walnut Shortbread

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, March 2010

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for the pan

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Pulse walnuts in a food chopper or processor until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl, and whisk in flour and salt.

Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Slowly add walnut mixture, and beat until just combined.

Butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Transfer dough to pan. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the dough, and use it to press the dough evenly into the pan.

Cut the dough into 8 wedges using a paring knife. Prick all over with a wooden skewer or fork.

Bake until golden brown and firm in the center, 30-35 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack. Recut into wedges and prick again. Let cool slightly. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.