I first tried Putri Salju during my first introduction to the kitchen with my mother to celebrate Ied el Fitr where this kind of shorties will always appear at every household. Putri Salju can be literally translated into Snow White, although I don't think it has something to do with the abandoned fair-skinned princess in the jungle because of the jealous witched stepmother who thinks will not be able to compete with her beauty. Perhaps it's merely named after the colour of snow as this shortbread is rolled in icing sugar, as white as snow. However, this shortbread is quite similar with Greek's and Mexican Wedding Cakes.
The method of making Putri Salju is various and I believe this has been achieved as gradual development and improvement to proper the kind of texture as well as taste from time to time, being experimented and then re-invented. Some cooks tend to use original method which is using cold butter/margarine, mixed with flour and little amount of sugar, then leave them rest in the fridge for a certain time before they're baked. Others have another option, that is to fry the flour in order to get rid of the moisture content in the gluten so then the finished products will give very light and melt-in-the mouth sensation. I am more satisfied with the later.
These methods, for sure, will give different results which also are depending on how fresh the ingredients one uses, how light/heavy handling can one apply to the dough, what I believe is just the beauty of baking. The satisfaction is practically going to another level, well, being a beginner or an experienced cook, s/he would probably arrive at one stage of the level. So, it is according to you, you yourself. The cook.
Anyway, similar biscuits I happen to try out are Greek Shortbread and Mexican Wedding Cakes. With the Greek's, I am really satisfied because the shorties are very light, very melty, very tasty with the great balance of flour and butter although you don't need to fry the flour. I think it's because of how well the butter is beaten and how delicate it has to handle without being too much squeezing the flour. It also tends not to taste more either floury or buttery.
The Mexican Wedding Cakes are a bit different in the process and they tend to taste more nutty than floury. The texture is heavier than the Greek's, but the shelf life is much longer. The use of either walnuts or pecans will give different flavour. Try cashew nuts as well, they'll give you different burst of nuts. Lois Daish writes in her book A Good Year that these little cakes are enjoyed with a bowl of fresh berries or a cup of tea. You can see another recipe from Joy of Baking which is similar to the one I adapted from Lois Daish's book.
I tend to use the recipe which calls to fry the flour, but if you prefer the other way, you can have a look at this. I have no idea who published this recipe, so I have to owe an apology for not writing the author, but the original name of this is kacang almond (almond nut) which is funny as it doesn't use almonds at all, but cashews and almond essence. This recipe doesn't use sugar when the butter is beaten, but I usually add about 1-2 Tbs of icing sugar.
300g flour, fried to dry,
100g cashew nuts, chopped,
¼ tsp almond essence,
icing sugar to roll in
Beat the butter until pale, fold in the fried flour, mix well. Add in chopped nuts and essence, mix well. Roll into balls or other dimension to your liking, put on the baking trays, then baked for 15 minutes until cooked. When the cookies are cooled, roll into the icing sugar. [note: this recipe doesn't mention any oven temparature, so be wise. I tend to use 140C fan-forced to bake shorties.]
Greek's Shortbread (Kourambiedes)
I love the texture of these little shorties. It's wise to handle the mixture lightly. Using wooden spoon is a good idea to avoid having your hand squeezing the mixture too hard when mixing it.
Source: The Australian Women's Weekly magazine. NZ Edition. October 2006. p. 150.
250g unsalted butter, chopped,
1 tsp vanilla extract (I use vanilla bean paste),
½ cup (80g) pure icing sugar, sifted,
1 egg yolk,
1 Tbs brandy (I don't use),
½ cup (70g) finely chopped toasted flaked almonds,
2 cups (300g) plain flour,
½ cup (75g) self-raising flour,
pure icing sugar, to coat, extra
Beat butter, vanilla and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk and brandy. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; stir in almonds and combined sifted flours.
Preheat the oven to moderately slow (160C/140C fan-forced). Take a level tablespoon of dough and roll between palms into sausage shape, tapering at ends; bend into a crescent. Repeat with remaining dough. Place on lightly greased baking trays, 3 cm apart. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until browned lightly. Cool on baking trays for 5 minutes.
Sift a thick layer of the extra icing sugar onto a large sheet of greaseproof paper. Place shortbreads on icing sugar, dust tops of shortbreads heavily with icing sugar. Cool. Pack into an airtight container, sifting more icing sugar onto each layer. Store at room temperature for up to 1 week. Serves with coffee, if desired. Makes about 32.
(note: When baking, I don't wait until it browned because it won't look good. I would stop baking when I press the biscuit and it won't spring back, it means it's baked through, then I will remove it from the oven.)