Preheat oven to 325° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together butter and powdered sugar then add vanilla. Add flour and salt and beat until combined. If the dough is still crumbly, press together with your hands into a cohesive dough.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll the dough out into an 8"-x-8" square, about ½” thick.
Cut dough into 2” squares and place on prepared pan about 1 inch apart from each other.
Piece cookies with a fork or skewer, several times.
Bake until lightly golden and set, 18 to 20 minutes. Do not let cookies brown as they should be fairly pale in color.
Let cool to room temperature on the baking sheet and then remove to a baking rack or container.
Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days at room temperature.
Feel free to use a toothpick instead of a fork to create the dots on top of the shortbread. It really does not matter how they are placed, but I do suggest a minimum of 6 dots per cookie for the air to properly escape as the cookies bake.
Shortbread is delicious if dipped into melted chocolate once baked and cooled.
If you only have salted butter, simply omit the salt from the recipe and proceed as directed.
Regular, all-purpose flour is best for this recipe. I do not recommend substituting.
Vanilla extract is optional and can be omitted.
I would not substitute vegan butter in this Shortbread Cookie recipe, as the fat content is not the same and the cookies will not hold their shape or texture well.