This recipe is a "new" classic for me. We never made it when I was a kid but now I can't get through the holidays without it.
I got this recipe from a friend of mine while I was hanging out with the Renaissance Faire crowd in Southern California. I was amazed at how simple shortbread is to make: three ingredients mixed together and baked. I added a bit of almond extract to smooth out the taste and a bit of salt to emphasize the almond flavor and wow, what a yummy bit of baking.
I started adding chocolate to the shortbread when a friend of mine made the obnoxious comment "there's nothing wrong with these cookies that couldn't be fixed with chocolate." The white chocolate-peppermint Kisses look particularly festive, although my favorite for taste is dark chocolate.
2 cups unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
Hershey's Kisses, any variety
Cream together the butter, sugar, salt and almond or vanilla extract, beating until light and fluffy. Gradually add the flour and mix well - you may need to mix in the last bit by hand. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Separate the dough into pieces just smaller than a golf ball and roll between your hands to form a ball. Place each ball in the cup of a mini muffin/tart pan and press to make the dough form to the cup. Bake at 300 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes or until the dough begins to yellow but not turn brown. Cool on a rack about 10 minutes, then gently turn each cookie to loosen it, then remove it from the pan. While the cookies are still hot, place a Kiss in the center of each one, pressing the chocolate slightly into the top of the cookie. Let the chocolate melt a bit, then press down again gently to make sure the chocolate sticks. Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack, then wrap individually in plastic wrap or stack gently in an airtight container.