Christmas is a fantastic time for baking, but anytime is a good time for shortbread. This version is so simple and easy, young children can do the whole process, and it's a great way to include them in the kitchen. Shortbread takes on a rich flavor by aging a few days, so make a double batch to set some aside - at our house it's a miracle if there is any left the next day. If you need a quick hostess gift, whip up a batch and place some bars (or use cookie cutters for shapes, omitting the chocolate chips) in a tin or baker's box lined with parchment paper. Tie a ribbon on it and give with confidence.
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup premium dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon Madagascar vanilla
Whisk the sugar into the butter until it is creamy. Add half the flour gently using a wooden spoon until combined. Pour the vanilla over the chocolate chips and stir, then add to the batter and fold in. Add the remaining flour and blend.
Bake in a well-buttered 9x12 pan at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. It's done when the top is starting to firm and the edges are golden, pulling away a bit from the sides of the pan. Remove and scoreline bars, then let cool before removing.