2000-12-08
Dear Diary:

When it comes to shortbread cookies my mother-in-law is Queen of the World.

Sure, you may THINK that you have tasted the perfect shortbread, but sadly I have to tell you that you've been duped, hoodwinked, and hornswoggled by pretenders to the shortbread cookie throne.

And believe me, I'm not denigrating the efforts of your kinfolk in the world of shortbread. I'm sure they make quite delicious shortbread cookies, and they didn't plan to mislead you in any way. All I'm saying is that they don't make The Best Shortbread Cookie in the World.

Yes, yes these are the Best Shortbread Cookies in the World.  I recommend that you not drool into your keyboards, you KNOW keyboards are not designed to handle liquids, eh. My condolences for your loss are heartfelt. Really. And if I catch you coming anywhere near my shortbread cookie stash ... well all I will say is that there are literally hundreds of acres of forest around my home and it wouldn't be hard to hide a body.

I'm sure we understand each other completely now.

Now here's the thing that makes me crazy--well, let me amend that to say crazier than normal. Not only do I have Norma's recipe, I have actually stood side by side with her and used exactly the same ingredients as she has, followed the same steps exactly and ...

I simply can't make shortbreads as good as the ones she makes. Hers are light and melt in your mouth. Mine are good--I mean, I AM working from her recipe--but they can't quite match Norma's superb texture.

It's genetic you know. I have proof. You see, my kid can make shortbreads that are as good as her grandmother's. Don't think this doesn't rot my socks, because it does. I've simply learned to bow to the inevitable. I accept that I will be Ms. Congeniality in the world of shortbreads, an also ran, the little engine that couldn't.

I have worked through the pain and become a better person for it. Really. I'm not bitter about this. I'm not.

Hey, YOU want to take a shot at these cookies? Be my guest, here's

Norma's Shortbread Cookies

4 1/2 c. flour
1 lb. salted butter
1/4 lb. margarine, it has to be Blue Bonnet, anything else is apostasy
1 1/3 c. icing sugar
tsp. of vanilla
yolk of one egg
pinch of baking powder.

Okay, first off you have to plan in advance before you make these soul satisfying cookies. Everything HAS to be at room temperature.

I saw that smirk. I know what you're thinking. Planning, schmanning, you're thinking ... what difference can temperature make? Go ahead. Try it with hard butter. I won't say, "I told you so."

Well, I won't say it more than once. So where was I?

Oh yes. You blend everything but the flour using a hand mixer, getting it as creamy as possible. Then (and this is the tricky part) you dump in the flour and knead it, using your hands.

Over knead it and you end up with perfectly good cookies, but they're not the float on a cloud wonders my mom-in-law and daughter produce. Under knead it and you end up with clots of butter and lumps of dry flour.

No pressure there, huh?

Kneading done, you tear off little bits of dough and roll it into balls about the size of a silver dollar. You smush them flat using a fork. The fork will want to stick to the dough, so you dip it occasionally into icing sugar.

Do not use flour. You use flour on forks used to smush something such as peanut butter cookies, but flour is just plain wrong for shortbreads. Show some respect, please.

Once you have your non-stick cookie sheet loaded, you press a piece of coloured cherry into each cookie. If you are a religious person, this is the point where prayers are uttered, ritual sacrifices made.

You bake your shortbreads in a pre-heated 350 degree oven until they are lightly brown. You'll note that I didn't give you a time. Shortbreads are a mystical entity, time becomes meaningless in the pursuit of the perfect shortbread cookie.

Do NOT put the dough in the refrigerator between batches. Do NOT DO THIS. It is wrong.

This recipe makes many, many cookies. Fortunately it's one of the laws of physics that There Are Never Too Many Shortbread Cookies. As well, these cookies make lovely gifts for those of you inclined to share.

Oh PUH-leeeeeese.

Like I'm going to share any of MY cookies, eh.

MY cookies were baked by the Shortbread Queen of the World.

Bake your own darn cookies.

--Marn

Old Drivel - New Drivel


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Want to delve into my sordid past?
She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -


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This template is a riff on a design by the truly talented Quinn. Because I'm a html 'tard, I got alot of pity coding to modify it from Ms. Kittay, a woman who can make html roll over, beg, and bring her her slippers. The logo goodness comes from the God of Graphics, the Fuhrer of Fonts, the one, the only El Presidente. I smooch you all. The background image is part of a painting called Higher Calling by Carter Goodrich which graced the cover of the Aug. 3, 1998 issue of The New Yorker Magazine.

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2000, 2001, 2002 Marn. This is me, dagnabbit. You be you.