I'm addicted to crunch. I love soft, chewy, ooey and gooey. Proof are these cookies, and those pecan tarts and these ridiculous brownies.
But crunch is something that I think we cannot live without. Part of the addiction is that it apparently relieves stress. I heard that from my husband (who is also addicted to crunch), and he read it somewhere, and he only reads really smart stuff (most of the time), so I believe it.
That sound. The shatter. The release of tension when it goes from whole to pieces - we relate to that and it makes us feel good.
I make a lot of chewy cookies. Those are the types I gravitate towards most when I get the itch to bake late on a Sunday night. But there's certainly a place for crisp, crunchy biscuits especially when a cup of tea, coffee or a tall glass of milk is involved.
I make these regularly and this is my base recipe. I often add cardmom powder, instant espresso powder or finely grated chocolate to the dough to flavour it in other exotic ways. You can also add orange, lemon or lime zest. Dip them in chocolate or use them as the base for mini cheesecakes. Options are everywhere.
This recipe is a canvas, so colour away!
Crisp Vanilla Shortbread Wafers
10 tbsp (140g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup (90g) icing sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (215g) all-purpose flour
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, icing sugar, salt and vanilla on medium-high speed for 4-5 minutes, until very pale and fluffy. You could also cream the mixture with a wooden spoon but make sure you give it your all. It should be nearly white in colour to lend that crisp texture. Mix in vanilla. Sift flour over the butter mixture and fold it in gently.
Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and roll it into a 9-inch long log. Wrap it tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour, or until the butter firms up.
Preheat your oven to 350°F and line two large baking trays with parchment paper.
Using a thin sharp knife, slice log into rounds with just over ¼-inch thickness and place onto prepared baking trays, spacing them 1 inch apart. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until nicely golden around the edges. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.