I just realized I posted a version of this recipe back in April. It makes a bar cookie, though. This version makes individual cookies. Plus, check out the eggnog shortbread version at the end of the post.
This recipe ties in with a blog post over on Pauline Baird Jones' blog. I didn't want to lose track of this one so I'm posting it here, too. But check out Pauline's blog. It's a lot of fun. The story behind this recipe is up on her blog.
This isn't a true shortbread. True shortbread is butter, sugar, and flour. It's a difficult cookie to get to turn out. Adding some flavorings and an egg makes this shortbread easier to handle.
1 c. butter (use the real stuff for this recipe)
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. anise extract
2 t. anise seed
1 c. whole wheat flour (finely ground or pastry flour if you can get it)
2 c. all-purpose flour
Put the butter in your mixing bowl and let it sit out for 2-3 hours to soften. Don't soften it in the microwave for this recipe.
Whip the butter with the mixer for 1 - 2 minutes. Add sugar. Cream for another 2 - 3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, anise extract, and anise seed. Cream for 2 - 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Beat for another minute.
Gently stir in the flours until you have a soft dough. Shape it into 1 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Use a glass to gently flatten each cookie. If it sticks to the dough, you can dip it in sugar before pressing each cookie flat.
Bake for 9-14 minutes in a 350° oven (9-10 if you like it soft like a sugar cookie, 13-14 if you like it crispier). Let cool on the cookie sheet before eating. If you can let them sit for a day or two, the anise flavors intensifies. Store in a loosely covered container.
Make as directed EXCEPT- Omit anise flavoring and anise seed, instead stir in 1 t. ground nutmeg and 1 t. rum flavoring when you add the egg.