The trick to making great shortbread is processing the dough just long enough so it can be rolled out but is still a little crumbly.
1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. Place sugar, salt, and flour in a food processor and pulse to combine. Cut butter into 1/2-inch chunks, add to the processor, and pulse until butter is evenly distributed and dough holds together when pinched.
3. Dump the dough onto parchment paper and form into an evenly thick rectangle. Roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin until the rectangle is 6 by 8 inches. Using a straight edge as a guide, cut the rectangle into 1-inch crosswise strips and then in half lengthwise to form 16 1-by-3-inch cookies. Prick each cookie 4 times with the tines of a fork. Carefully place on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet.
4. Bake for 23 to 26 minutes, or until the cookies are set and just starting to turn golden (not browned). Cool on racks before serving. Store in an airtight container.
Note: Shortbread tastes wonderful flavored with almost any combination of savory herb butters. Two favorites are Sage-Orange Butter (2 packed tablespoons torn sage leaves and 2 tablespoons grated orange rind per 1⁄2 cup butter) and Basil-Lemon Butter (4 packed tablespoons torn basil leaves and 2 tablespoons grated lemon rind per 1⁄2 cup butter).
Originally published in Organic Gardening Magazine October/November 2012