Shortbreads were one of Grandma Clarke’s most popular cookies. I have fond memories of decorating dozens of cookies with her each Christmas. Her shortbreads were almost always rolled and cut with cookie cutters. She had a collection of Christmas-themed cookie cutters which included an angel, a bell, a tree, a snowman, and Santa. I loved to meticulously select sprinkles and place them on the dough in precise patterns, but Grandma would only let me do a few before she insisted that they get into the oven. Only 1 or 2 dozen shortbreads stayed at home for us to enjoy, while many more dozens were packaged up as gifts or donated to the church, where they would be sold at a bake sale or enjoyed by the congregation after holiday services.
Grandma’s shortbread were that perfect balance of buttery, melt-in-your-mouth flavour and crumbly, delicate texture. Shortbreads are difficult to get right, but the hardest part is not knowing which recipe to follow: there are at least three shortbread recipes in the box!
I tried a recipe called Auntie Kay’s Shortbread Cookies. I could have guessed from the name that this wasn’t going to be the shortbread recipe that I knew and loved from childhood, but it was the first one I pulled and I had all the ingredients handy.
No offense to Auntie Kay, but these cookies are not good. They are dry and plain. I’m glad that I halved the recipe, because it makes two dozen and I think the better part of my one dozen are going to end up in the garbage.
It’s disappointing to have my first post on this blog be a failure, but I set out to document the entire process and failure is an important part of learning. Next time I will use less flour, more butter, and more sugar. I’ll be checking the proportions more carefully when I select which shortbread recipe to try next!
Auntie Kay’s Shortbread Cookies
- 1 lb butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- pinch salt
- 1¼ – 1½ cups icing sugar
- 5 cups flour
Cream butter, vanilla, & salt.
Add icing sugar & beat.
Add flour a cup at a time & beat.
Roll until ¼” thick & cut.
Ungreased sheets. (Editor’s note: I recommend greasing your cookie sheets)
350°F Approx 12 min.
Hand-painted ceramic plate from TheRusticHome on Etsy