Brazil nut shortbread cookies

Photograph by Gregory Miller

These easy slice-and-bake cookies melt in your mouth. Brazil nuts, now found bagged and shelled in many grocery stores, give them a distinctive flavor, but pecans, almonds, or other nuts can be substituted.

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
7/8 cup confectioners sugar (plus extra for dusting)
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces chopped Brazil nuts, lightly toasted

1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend the butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low, add the flour a scoop at a time, mixing just until incorporated. Fold in the nuts. 

2. Remove the dough from the bowl and set it on a flour-dusted surface. Divide it in two and then roll each batch into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or freeze (thaw in the refrigerator for several hours before using). When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. 

3. Remove 1 log from the refrigerator (keep other log chilled until you’re ready to bake it); take out of the plastic wrap and cut dough into ¼-inch slices. Place the cookies on ungreased cookie sheets ½ inch apart. 

4. Bake the cookies for 25 to 30 minutes, until barely colored. Remove from the oven, let the cookies cool, and then dust with confectioners sugar if desired.

Makes about 5 dozen.

More: These cookies go great with King’s coconut custard with blood orange sauce.