Cookie of the week: Shortbread tidbits pack big holiday bite

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It's that time of year again — cookie season! This week, we bring back our popular cookie of the week series for the holiday season, giving you a delicious cookie recipe every week leading up to Christmas. That means three different cookies to try out for friends and family, or for your office cookie swap.

Happy baking!

Our first cookie this year is from Margaret Button, associate features editor and food columnist. These Christmas shortbread tidbits require three simple ingredients — butter, sugar and flour — to create a buttery shortbread. Margaret had a few issues with the recipe, the first of which was thinking the dough would never come together. She used her KitchenAid mixer for the kneading part and it did finally form a ball.

The original recipe calls for an 8x8-inch pan, but this would have made the tidbits too thin. Instead, use a small loaf pan.

The 1/2-inch cookies are really cute (a decorative glass or mug filled with these tidbits makes a great holiday gift for teachers or neighbors), but they would be even better as 1-inch thick cookies, as well.

You'll want to check these fast-baking cookies every few minutes. Margaret's were done around the 10-minute mark.

"I will definitely make these again," she said. "They were really quick to make (under 30 minutes, start to finish) and they are nice and buttery. I think they would also be tasty if vanilla, orange, lemon or any other flavor extract was used."

CHRISTMAS SHORTBREAD TIDBITS

(Recipe from landolakes.com)

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

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INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons Christmas-colored nonpareils

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 8-inch square baking pan (or small loaf pan) with plastic food wrap, leaving 1-inch overhang. Set aside.

Combine butter, sugar and almond extract in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour and salt. Beat until well mixed. Stir in nonpareils.

Knead mixture 4 to 5 times in bowl until dough forms a ball. Pat dough evenly into prepared pan. Use plastic wrap to lift dough from pan. Cut dough into 1/2-inch squares. Gently place squares 1/2 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets; discard plastic wrap. Bake 10-13 minutes or until bottoms just begin to brown.


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