Holidays and food seem to be linked in most of our minds. I know in my family the big family meals have always been a key component to our celebrations, whether it be a birthday, Christmas Day, New Years Day, or whatever. My grandmother’s turkey, the roast moose we always had on Christmas Eve, the duck Mom would make for Dad on New Year’s – these were important traditions growing up and great memories today.
Baked goods played a big role in the Christmas holidays for sure. Both of my grandmothers made excellent fruit cake (and, yes, I love dark fruit cake! Haters be darned.) My uncle did a fantastic cherry cake. And there was always a huge assortment of cookies and squares. Thinking back, I was rarely included in the baking extravaganza, perhaps because my grandmothers had “their way” and were happier doing it themselves when the celebratory stakes were so high.
These days, in my little family, I try to get Boo involved in the holiday prep as much as possible. I love baking memories with him, although as he gets older he seems less interested. He does enjoy decorating a gingerbread house though. My favourite thing to bake for the holidays? Shortbread. Probably because it’s also my favourite treat to eat. Sweet, buttery, crumbly goodness. The best shortbread just melts in your mouth. But to accomplish that you need the right recipe, and the right ingredients.
|The secret to great shortbread is in the butter|
Shortbread has very few ingredients, and the butter is critical. I generally choose Gay Lea salted butter in my recipe, even though every shortbread recipe seems to call for unsalted. I prefer the flavour with salted butter, and I am always happy with the results. To aid in creaming the butter with the icing sugar, I leave it on the counter for a couple of hours to soften before combining.
If you’ve never made shortbread before, this is what your finished dough should look like after mixing – crumbly and separated. You will form it into a ball with your hands for rolling out, but it will not come together with the mixer.
|The finished product just melts in your mouth.|
My recipe is based on the recipe for Scotch Shortbread in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.
1/2 pound Gay Lea Salted Butter
About Gay Lea Foods
Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.