Most of the people I know only make these at Christmas, but they are a nice treat any time of the year. I think every Canadian household has their own version of these, from the buttery melt in your mouth ones to the sturdy Scottish kind.
The recipes I have found are all very similar, the secret for tender shortbread seems to be room temperature butter and in working the dough less for more tender cookies.
My photo does not match the description of how to form these cookies because I tried to complicate my life by cutting them into squares. Making the balls to form circles is much simpler. This will make about 2 dozen cookies.
1 cup butter
3/4 cup icing sugar, sifted to remove any lumps
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
In bowl of stand mixer, (or bowl and wooden spoon), beat together butter, icing sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Remove bowl from mixer stand and using wooden spoon, stir in flour until just combined.
Arrange oven racks in top and bottom of oven and preheat to 325F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Divide dough in half and press into 2 discs. Wrap each disc in plastic and refrigerate until firm, but still soft enough to work with.
Roll into 1″ balls and place on prepared cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Using the bottom of a glass, gently press each ball to 1/4″ thick.
Bake until just golden, about 20 minutes, rotating pans in oven half way thru cooking. Place pans on wire racks and let cool completely in pans.