Festive, and easy. Plus, they’re British. Shortbread’s triangular shape looks great on a cookie platter, which is usually dominated by rounds.
A really nice thing about shortbread is that you don't have to cream the butter and sugar the way you do for a lot of the best desserts. There's something a whole lot less fussy about it, and then there's the added plus that if you don't own any kind of mixer, you'll save your forearms the arduous task of mixing. This is because in shortbread, you use your fingers to wedge the flour particles into the butter, making for a tender, crumbly cookie.
Being a bit plain, these cookies make a great garnish for things, and they also look beautiful in tins, if you're ever in need of gifting some food.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and coconut (if using). Cut the cold butter into 16 pieces, and then work it in gently with your fingertips, smearing it into the flour and squeezing the dough together.
When you can gather the dough into a ball, press it evenly into a 9-inch round fluted pie tin with removable bottom. Prick in several places with a fork. Bake for 10-12 minutes, turning once, then remove and cool in the pan for 5 minutes before cutting it crosswise into 16 pieces.