These tips for making perfect shortbread come from the amazing cookbook Baking from Dorie Greenspan. It is worth every penny. Go buy it. Some recipes for shortbread call for using a food processor. Dorie’s recipes all use a stand mixer. I’m sure both would work.
1. “Use fresh butter that is soft, but not at all greasy – if your butter is sitting in an oily puddle, it’s gone too soft and you…won’t have the characteristic sandiness.”
2. “Don’t beat the butter…sugar and eggs so enthusiastically that the mixture is light and fluffy. You don’t want to beat air into this dough, because it would cause the cookies to puff as they bake in the oven and sink as they cool on the counter.”
3. “Be soft and gentle when you blend in the flour. This is the make-or-break step in the process…add in the flour all at once and mix it only until it disappears into the dough. To guard against overmixing, you can mix in the last of the flour by hand.”
4. “Shape the dough as the recipe directs and them make sure to give it a good, long chill; it will improve the flavor of the cookies and help them keep their shape…refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but know longer is better.”
5. “Cool the cookies completely before you serve them…the cookies taste better when they reach room temperature.”