It would be pretty hard to ignore the fact that Christmas is on the way. Decorations have been up in the shops for weeks, the Toronto Santa Claus Parade has happened and the digital radio stations started their Christmas programming long ago. I do enjoy Christmas, but detest the pushing of the season down my throat in early October in an attempt to make me buy stuff. It certainly does nothing to change my mood into one of jolly goodwill.
Okay, rant over. For now.
To help my disposition and to get ready for seasonal gatherings, I’m going to make shortbread. This is a family recipe, snagged by my grandmother eighty or so years ago from her neighbour, Mrs. Ballantyne, and altered by my father since. Initially, these were made with cake and pastry flour only, but Dad added rice flour to make it a little easier to extrude from a cookie press.
I remember my parents making sheets and sheets of cookies in preparation for the holiday season, pressing the dough through our horrible cookie press to end up with star and ribbon and tree shaped shortbread. I think there were a few attempts to find a press which worked better than the one we had, but every year they’d return to the original one despite its hand-mangling capability. Recently, I found one that works for me, so here we go.
My cookie press. I’m banking on it being far superior to the one my parents used. Which won’t be difficult.
Everything you need to make the shortbread.
Butter and sugar.
Cake and pastry and rice flours.
Cookie press test, take one.
Cookie press test, take two.
Cookie press is deemed a success. Sheets are loaded.
Extra dough was pressed into these little tart moulds, so there would be petticoats.
The shortbreads are a little soft when they come out of the oven, but quickly become crisp when they’re cooled.
They will melt in your mouth.
They are divine. And more than enough to turn my unChristmasy mood around. Ho ho ho!
1 pound unsalted butter
1-1/8 cup fruit sugar
5 cups cake and pastry flour
1 cup rice flour
Cream butter and sugar together. Add flour and mix well. Squeeze from cookie press into ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes at 300°F or until cookies are just browning on bottom. Cool on rack.
Makes about 8 dozen.
(I made half the recipe today.)