Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two lightly colored baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in butter, sugar, vanilla, and flour. (Be sure to fluff your flour before measuring to get an accurate measurement.) Mix slowly until a crumbly dough forms. It will look like crumbs in the stand mixer, but when squeezed together in your hands will hold its shape.
Form dough into a ball and roll in between parchment paper to 1/3-1/2-inch thick. Cut into small 3-inch circles (or any shape desired**) and place onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake 12-15 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are barely golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on hot baking trays before transferring to cooling racks.
Store in airtight containers for up to 5 days.
**feel free to scoop and roll shortbread cookie dough into smooth balls and indenting with a fork.