Christmas Shortbread Bites: A Festive Delight for All Ages

1. Introduction

The holiday season brings with it a sense of warmth, cheer, and, most importantly, the irresistible aroma of freshly baked treats. Among these, Christmas Shortbread Bites stand out as a festive favorite. These tiny, buttery delights, speckled with colorful nonpareils, are not just a treat for the eyes but also melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Perfect for holiday parties, as gifts, or simply as a sweet snack to enjoy with a hot cup of cocoa, these shortbread bites are sure to become a holiday tradition in your home. Simple to make and wonderfully festive, they are a symbol of the joy and simplicity that the holiday season embodies.

2. Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons multi-colored nonpareils

3. Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C).
  2. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with plastic food wrap, leaving a 1-inch overhang.

4. How to Prepare

  1. In a bowl, combine softened butter, sugar, and almond extract. Beat at medium speed, scraping the bowl often, until the mixture is creamy.
  2. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add flour and salt. Continue beating until well mixed.
  3. Stir in the nonpareils gently.
  4. Knead the mixture 4-5 times in the bowl until the dough forms a cohesive ball.
  5. Pat the dough evenly into the prepared pan.
  6. Use the plastic wrap to lift the dough from the pan and cut it into 1/2-inch squares.
  7. Place the squares, spaced about 1/2 inch apart, on ungreased cookie sheets. Discard the plastic wrap.
  8. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the bottoms just begin to brown.

5. Preparation Time

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13-15 minutes
  • Total Time: Approximately 35-40 minutes

6. Servings

This recipe yields about 4 dozen delightful bites, perfect for sharing.

7. FAQs

Q: Can I use vanilla extract instead of almond? A: Yes, vanilla extract can be used as a substitute for a different but equally delicious flavor.

Q: How long can I store these shortbread bites? A: Stored in an airtight container, they can last up to a week.

Q: Can I freeze the dough for later use? A: Absolutely! The dough can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Q: Are these bites suitable for vegetarians? A: Yes, they are vegetarian-friendly.

Q: Can I make these gluten-free? A: You can substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend.

8. Conclusion

Christmas Shortbread Bites are more than just a recipe; they are a festive ritual that brings families and friends together. As you bite into these crumbly, buttery morsels, let them not only satiate your sweet tooth but also remind you of the joy and togetherness that the holiday season represents. Whether you’re an experienced baker or trying your hand at holiday baking for the first time, these bites are foolproof and guaranteed to spread cheer. So, don your aprons, preheat your ovens, and get ready to make some sweet memories with this delightful holiday treat.