Vanilla and Walnut Shortbread Hearts

1 c all-purpose flour sift mix mix roll cut bake 20 minutes at 350°F cool
2½ T cornstarch
⅛ t salt
½ c unsalted butter, at room temperature beat
⅓ c (3 oz/90 g) granulated sugar
1 t vanilla extract
½ c (2 oz/60 g) walnuts, finely chopped  
  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F
  2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch and salt; set aside
  3. In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla. Using an electric mixer set on high, beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and mix until beginning to gather together into a rough dough.
  5. Mix in the walnuts
  6. Turn out the dough onto a sheet of waxed paper. Gather into a ball, then flatten into a disk.
  7. Cover with another sheet of waxed paper. Roll out the dough ¼ inch thick.
  8. Remove the top sheet of waxed paper and, using a heart-shaped cookie cutter 3 inches in diameter, cut out cookies. Transfer the cookies to an ungreased baking sheet, spacing them ½ inch apart. Gather up the scraps into a flat disk, reroll and cut out additional cookies. Transfer to the baking sheet.
  9. Bake until firm to the touch and just beginning to colour, about 20 minutes.
  10. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool
  11. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks

Makes about 20

This festive cookie looks pretty whether left plain, sprinkled with coloured sugar crystals, or decorated with confectioners' sugar icing or chocolate coating. If using the latter, store the cookies in the refrigerator.

Shamelessly stolen from the Williams-Sonoma Gifts from the Kitchen, recipes by Kristine Kidd