Shortbread has never appealed to me the way it does to, say, my mom. To me, "shortbread" is just shorthand for bland, dry cookies that leave me wishing I'd done something better with all that butter and sugar.
    However, I've been seeing all these recipes for sables everywhere, recipes that claim they're different from the unsatisfactory shortbread I'm accustomed to. These little French cookies have a sandy texture (from which they got the name sables), and thanks to the brown sugar I used in this recipe, a rich and homey flavor. With just four ingredients, they are ridiculously quick to mix up. Once baked, they disappear almost equally fast.

*makes about 24 small cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1+1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add the flour gradually and incorporate it fully. Roll the dough into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Cut off 1/4 inch thick cross sections, and place on a baking sheet 1 inch apart. Bake cookies at 375 degrees F for 8 minutes, checking them after 5, until the edges of the cookies brown slightly. If desired, save a log of dough in the freezer in a ziplock bag to slice and bake another time.