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In the bowl of an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar for 3 to 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla.

In another bowl, whisk the flour, cardamom and salt together.

Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and add the flour in a few additions until incorporated. Scrape the dough from the bowl and gather it into a mass. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or as long as overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 °F.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the chilled dough a few times to warm it up and make it pliable. With a floured rolling pin, roll it into a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick and 12 inches long. Using a small, sharp knife, cut the dough into the desired shapes. Lay on an ungreased baking sheet and prick the shortbread several times with a fork. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned and firm.

Transfer to wire racks to cool.

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