Old-Time Shortbread

In a bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, and sugar. Rub butter into dry ingredients until crumbly and the size of rice grains. Blend in water.

Pat dough into an ungreased 9”x9” square baking pan. Press bottom of another pan the same size against crumbs, making surface as even as possible. Refrigerate 15-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325°.

Prick shortbread with a fork in about a dozen places. Put pan on a baking sheet and place in oven. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. If edges brown too fast, cover loosely with strips of foil.

Place pan on a rack and let cool to lukewarm. Cut shortbread into 16 squares. Remove with a thin spatula and let cool completely. Drizzle with dulce de leche. Store in cookie tins, placing waxed paper between layers.

Chocolate-Dipped Almond-Cranberry Biscotti

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, toast for 10 minutes, and let cool.

In a food processor with blade attachment, add 1/2 cup almonds and 1 tablespoon sugar. Blend until finely ground. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse to blend.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat eggs, vanilla and remaining 3/4 cup sugar on medium until thick and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour-almond mixture. Mix on low until just blended. Add remaining 1 cup almonds and cranberries, if using, and stir to combine.

Evenly divide dough into 3 pieces. Place on prepared sheet, shape into three 2 1/2″x10” loaves, and smooth tops. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Carefully transfer loaves to a cutting board. Let cool slightly and cut crosswise into 1/2” thick slices.

Reduce oven heat to 325°. Place slices on baking sheet, standing them upright. Bake until crisp, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a work surface.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 1” of water to a simmer. Transfer half of chocolate to a heatproof bowl and place on top of pan. Stir occasionally until chocolate is melted, about 3 minutes. Add remaining half of chocolate, remove from heat and let stand 2 minutes. Stir gently until smooth.

Dip biscotti bottoms into chocolate and place biscotti on parchment to set, about 15 minutes.

Thyme-Roasted Marcona Almonds

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt, thyme, and paprika. Bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool.

Almond Biscotti

In a bowl, whisk butter, sugar, almond liqueur, and almond extract. Whisk in 1 egg at a time. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold in almond paste and almonds. Form into 2 10”x4” loaves, place on a silicone mat-lined baking sheet, cover, and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Remove cover from loaves and bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool, 15 minutes. Transfer loaves to a cutting board and cut into ½” thick slices. Return slices to baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Turn cookies over and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven, top with almonds and sugar, and let cool completely.

Cheddar-Chive Shortbread

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the blade attachment, add flour, salt, and butter. Pulse until small pieces form. With machine running, add water and process until crumbly. Add cheese, chives, and paprika and process until dough forms into a ball.

Lightly flour a work surface. Flatten dough ball into a disk and roll out to 3/8″ thickness. Using a 1 3/4″ cookie cutter, cut circles out of dough and place on prepared baking sheets. Imprint dough with a fork.

Bake until slightly puffed and golden, 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle with smoked salt, if using. Using an offset spatula, remove crackers to a wire rack to cool.

Homemade Salted Caramel

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine water, sugar, and salt. Stir slowly until mixture comes to a boil, about 4 minutes. Stop stirring and cook until mixture is honey-colored, slowly swirling pan as needed to ensure even caramelization, about 6 minutes. Continue cooking until syrup is light to medium amber, 1 minute more.

Remove pan from heat. Using a whisk, carefully add cream, whisking constantly. Return pan to low heat, continue to stir until caramel has dissolved off of whisk. Continue to cook, using a silicone spatula, until caramel registers 220° on a digital thermometer, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a heat-resistant container, stir in vanilla (if using) and salt, and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate up to 1 month in an airtight container.