- Yields: Makes 4-1/2 dozen cookies
- Preparation: 105 minutes
- 2 cups (500mL) GAY LEA - Unsalted Butter, softened
- 1 cup (250mL) fruit or granulated sugar
- 1 tsp (5mL) vanilla extract
- 3 cups (750mL) all purpose flour
- 1 cup (250mL) cornstarch or rice flour
- 1 tsp (5mL) salt
- 1 150g package hard candies, different colours
- Using electric mixer, beat butter until very creamy. Gradually beat in sugar, beating until very light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. In separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch and salt. In four additions, using a wooden spoon, stir flour mixture into butter mixture, stirring well between each addition. Transfer dough to floured surface; knead gently for 3 minutes until shortbread holds together well. Divide into three balls. Wrap each ball with plastic wrap; flatten into discs and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Remove plastic wrap from one piece of dough. Flour work surface well and knead dough lightly for 30 seconds. Re-flour surface and top of dough. Roll out dough until 1/4” (5 mm) thick, constantly rotating to make sure it’s not sticking to the surface and lightly dusting the top of the dough with flour. Cut out shapes, using a cookie cutter.
- Preheat oven to 325F (160C)
- Transfer to parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. Repeat with remaining chilled dough. Re-roll scraps only once, dusting with flour as necessary.
- Prick each cookie twice with fork tines. Bake in centre of oven for about 15 minutes or until dough is firm and underside is lightly golden. Cool on pan on racks. Transfer to racks to cool completely.
- Roll and cut cookies as directed, making sure dough is ¼” (5 mm) thick. Using small pastry tips, cookie cutters, tips of drinking straws or hors d’oeuvres cutters, cut out small holes or shapes in cookies. Transfer to parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
- Bake for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, crush hard candies, keeping colour separate. Spoon candy lightly into prepared holes. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until dough is firm, underside is golden and candy is melted. Cool on pan on racks. To use these as ornaments or as part of a garland, cut out hole in top of cookie – before baking – using drinking straw. Upon removal from oven, make sure hole is large enough to draw string through. Let cool completely before hanging.