Beat together butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Beat in vanilla. Stir in desired flavor additions (see below).
In separate small mixing bowl, stir together flour and salt until combined then beat into butter/sugar mixture.
Form dough into flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Roll dough out to about 1/2-inch thickness on floured work surface. Using a 1 inch square cookie cutter, cut out dough (or cut into desired shapes). If you want sharp edges, refrigerate cut-out cookies for 10-20 minutes before baking.
Place cookies on ungreased baking sheets (or baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silpats) and bake about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown around edges (or bake about 20-25 minutes or cookies about 2-3 inches in diameter).
Makes about 4 dozen (1-inch squares) – yield will vary depending on size you cut cookies into.
Vanilla-Cardamom: Add 1 tablespoons additional vanilla and 1 teaspoon ground cardamom.Orange-Cranberry: Add juice & zest from 1 small orange and 1 cup chopped dried craisins. Lemon-Rosemary: Add juice & zest from 1 lemon and 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary.SNAPPY TIPS: You can cut the cookies into any shape you like. Be sure you use sharp cookie cutters to cut through some of the flavorings (such as the dried craisins and rosemary).SNAPPY SUBSTITUTIONS: You could add a wide range of flavorings to these cookies such as chopped nuts, fruit zest, dried fruit, and extracts.
Keywords: easy shortbread cookies, flavored shortbread cookies