Monday, November 10, 2008

A short story about short bread

I've got 40 making days to Christmas, and 14 knitting projects plus shortbread duty. I know... nobody eats that stuff, right? Well, they eat what my mother's made forever. Nothing goes better with tea and a book in a snowstorm.

Mum uses the recipe my dad's mum taught her, which means my family has been making these cookies for around a hundred years now. You have to use very cold butter, and she squishes and squeezes and pummels it into the sugar and flour that pretty much make up the cookie. She taught me to pack in as much flour as possible, though I suspect this has more to do with impressing friends with your stamina than with flavour. In the end the dough is too soft to roll out and cut with the special cutter, so you have to put it back in the 'frig for a while. Basically, you're looking at a three-day job if you're making gifts.

I have a tendency to carpal tunnel and limited time, so I cheat. I use the mixer so the butter doesn't warm under my hands, and I form the dough into a roll for slicing. They still taste way better than any other shortbread I've tried. It might be the rice flour, but I like to think it's some special magic from my Gramma.

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