19 December 2008

Traditional Christmas Shortbread

En français ici.

One of my favorite things about Christmas, is that it's a holiday about giving. I love giving presents, almost more than getting them, seeing people's eyes light up the way they do when you've found the perfect gift. I don't think this means that Christmas has to be about spending as much money as possible, though, or getting the newest, most high-tech gadget (although that can be fun sometimes). As I mentioned in my last post, one of the best things to give to all your friends for the holidays is homemade baked goods, especially when you want to give a little something to a lot of people. When I was little, I was part of a large church community and all of the families exchanged presents. Unable to buy gifts for that many people, most of the presents were homemade, often edible and they became traditions. Every year, we looked forward to a special spicy nut mix from one family, peanut brittle from another, yogurt-covered pretzels from a third etc.

My contribution to this tradition every year was homemade shortbread. Super yummy, easy to produce large batches and simple to make even for an 8-year-old (with some parental supervision I believe, although the way I remember it, all my dad did was the math to figure out what baking pans to use). The recipe I've always used was found in the Joy of Cooking, back when I was eight (ok, some of you are going to say I should stop acting like that was so long ago, I'm not that old, but 17 years makes a difference!). When they revised Joy of Cooking, the recipe got changed. I still use the old one. It's still one of the simplest recipes I know, and crumbly and rich and sooo good and... Well just try it. You'll see.

Preheat the oven to 325F (170F).


1 cup butter, softened

Sift together:

2 cups flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Blend the dry ingredients into the butter. I recommended rolling up your sleeves, washing your hands and getting them involved in the process. (The dough will be crumbly, and that's a good thing.) Pat into an ungreased 9X9 inch baking pan and press the edges down. If you want to decorate your short bread, sprinkle colored sugar on top (or the decoration of your choice) before baking.

Pierce with a fork every 1/2 inch. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 325F (170C). Cut squares while warm (or at least score deeply where you want to cut) in the pan. Wait until cool before removing them. If you try to cut them cold, they'll crumble badly.

I'm submitting this recipe to Food Blogga's Eat Christmas Cookies Event:

Click on the logo to see the amazing array of recipes already submitted.

Happy Holidays!


Cicero Sings said...

Oh how I love shortbread. I'm going to be making ours later today. My recipe is a bit different than yours but I'm sure just as tasty!! Only tastes better as it ages too.

P.S. still waiting to hear and see pics from your Mither's ride?

Sam said...

Shortbread is something I've never got the hang of, I'll try your recipe over the holidays and see how I get on!

You're right home-made gifts are great, they seem a bit more special.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I don't blame you for using the old recipe. Why mess with a classic? :)

Psychgrad said...

I can't believe shortbread is so easy to make. Looks delicious too. Happy holidays!

Hopie said...

Cicero - I haven't forgotten about the pics! I was waiting for my mom to send them and she finally got around to it. It'll be going in the next post. And I agree, shortbread does taste better and better. I'd love to know your recipe.

Sam - Good luck. This one's pretty hard to mess up so if you manage, I'll be impressed ;-)

Susan - Indeed. No need to fix what isn't broken. :-)

Psychgrad - It is surprisingly simple and yummy. Happy holidays to you too!

Apples and Butter said...

I adore shortbread at Christmas time! Merry Christmas!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!



Papilles et Pupilles said...

Joyeux Noël, merry CHristmas Hopie ! A bientôt

Ivy said...

Happy Holidays and wishing you a happy new year. May all your dreams come true.

kathy said...

I have never had shortbread and this looks and sounds yummy. I'll definitely give it a try - thanks so much for sharing it

Happy Holidays!

Hopie said...

Apples and Butter - I hear you! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Rosa - Thank you. You too!

Papilles et Pupilles - Merry Christmas, Anne, et bonnes fêtes !

Ivy - Thank you. I wish the same for you. Happy New Year!

Kathy - Oh it's yummy stuff! Hope you enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Just made this, it turned out beautifully - and so simple! Thanks for the recipe! Here's what mine looks like: http://i61.photobucket.com/albums/h47/rld_13/DSCN1107.jpg

Hopie said...

Anonymous - Hey way to go! Yours looks great! Thanks for sharing!