Holiday Baking

By insistent demand special request, I was told in no uncertain terms that I would be thought it would be nice of me to bake some shortbread cookies to send to my sister for the holidays. As it happens, I make the world’s greatest shortbread cookies. From my Great Granny Snow’s recipe. Her *secret* recipe. Which was passed on from my Great Granny Snow to my aunt, who then passed it on to me. There is no rhyme nor reason to who the recipe gets passed on to… no traditional, every-second-generation-the-13th-member-of-the-
family-learns-the-secret-at-the-full-moon. As far as I can tell, it is based solely on favourtism. My Great Granny liked my aunt the best and my aunt liked me more than all her other neices and nephews. But, as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. And so I bake.

But before I could bake, I needed to find my rolling pin. Most of my kitchen gadgets are packed away in boxes, seeing as I am living this transient lifestyle (I usually just use my roommates baking stuff, but she does not seem to own a rolling pin). And seeing as I am a recovering pack rat, I have a fair number of boxes. I knew that I’d seen my rolling pin the last time I’d been digging through boxes for some much needed kitchen item (I believe that time it was a casserole dish). I searched through the boxes in my bedroom cupboard, but to no avail. So then I searched through this pile of boxes:

But alas, no rolling pin. I did, however, find some things that would make my life much easier, including a wooden spoon for beating cookie batter, cooling racks and cookie cutters. So I kept that stuff out and, as the items in my boxes appear not to obey the law of conservation of matter, I just repacked the boxes as best I could. And then I restacked the boxes careful, since the last time I’d dug through them and hastily restacked them, they all came crashing down in the middle of the night, scaring my roommate half to death.

Next I decided to search through this set of boxes:

Jackpot! I found my rolling pin! It is made of marble, so it weighs about 300 lbs, but I really like it. Isn’t it cool looking?

Fortunately, the 2 hrs it took me to unpack boxes; rifle through them; delight at the treasures within; struggle to re-pack them, marveling at how, despite having taken things out of the boxes, I can no long fit the remaining items back in the box; decide it is OK to do a half-ass job of repacking the boxes; re-tape them and restack them, was just the necessary amount of time for the butter that I had taken out of the fridge to soften, so from there it was smooth sailing.

Secret recipe in hand, I mixed the batter:

I cut the cookies into traditional Christmas cookie shapes, such as gingerbread men shaped, circles and, of course, cows:

On some cookies, I used a cookie press to make imprints of festive shapes… like this one, where I was making an imprint of a vampire bat:

And yes, that is festive black nail polish that I’m wearing!

Then you just decorate with chocolate chips or coloured sugar – you know, stuff that a nutritional scientist would totally be into. And bake!

And that, my friends, is the most I’m going to reveal about how you make my Great Granny’s secret recipe for shortbread. Man, I should totally have my own cooking show.

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