A classic, buttery shortbread lightly flavored with orange and nutmeg.
It's always good to have a simple, easy shortbread recipe in your back pocket for the wintertime. It's buttery, crumbly and lightly sweet and pairs nicely with hot chocolate, brandy, and canceling all your plans to stay in flannel pajamas at home and watch Netflix. (If you're in the mood for a cocktail with your cookies, which I am always a big fan of, a Brandy Alexander is just ideal.)
This foundation for this recipe came from Regan Daley's recipe for Scottish Shortbread from her book "In the Sweet Kitchen: The Definitive Baker's Companion." Over the years, after making it a few dozen times, I've made my own little adjustments to make it my own little winter tradition. —Sara Washington
Preheat oven to 325º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (I use one baking sheet for all 20 cookies. They spread a bit during the baking process, but not that much.)
In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine your flour, salt, and cornstarch and set aside.
In a stand mixer, with a paddle attachment, cream your butter, sugar, orange zest, and nutmeg until light and fluffy. Add your flour mixture in three additions, and mix until combined. (You may have to stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl to make this happen, some of the cornstarch and flour may fall to the bottom and will a bit of encouragement to join the rest of the dough.)
Turn your dough out to a lightly floured surface and roll it out to about 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out your cookies using a biscuit cutter and place on parchment lined baking sheet, about 1/4-inch apart. (See note for using cookie cutters or cookie molds.)
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The cookies will be very lightly browned around the edges. Cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. You can eat these cookies warm but, in my opinion, they taste best when completely cooled. That's when you'll get the best, buttery crunch that your cookies will have to offer.
NOTE: If using a cookie cutter of a particular shape, or a cookie mold, be sure to chill your dough before you roll it out. It will help your cookies hold their shape (about 20 to 30 minutes.) Be careful though, because the dough has a high content of butter, it can get too cold to roll out, so keep an eye on that.