I was down at my folks last weekend and my Mom and I were talking about what a sweet tooth my Dad has had lately! I don't remember exactly what happened but all of a sudden Dad was in the conversation and before I knew it I was making him shortbread. So Dad this is for you! I hope you loved your shortbread, I know I loved having it for breakfast the next two days with coffee and tea!
1 1/3 cups (2 sticks plus 6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-by-1-inch baking pan, and line bottom with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add salt and vanilla, and beat to combine. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, beating on low speed until just combined.
Press dough into prepared pan, leveling and smoothing the top. Using a dough scraper or the back of a knife, cut dough lengthwise into nine strips, each slightly less than 1 inch wide. Cut the strips crosswise into thirty-six 3-inch bars. Using the tines of a fork or a wooden skewer, create a decorative pattern on the surface.
Bake shortbread until evenly pale golden, but not browned, 70 to 85 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. Invert pan, and remove parchment. Turn shortbread over, and carefully break, or cut with a serrated knife, into bars. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.