Of all the blessings in my life, my grandparents are among the biggest. They have always been my biggest fans, believing in me with unfailing confidence and knowing that I can achieve what ever it is that I dare to dream of. What a different world we would live in if we all had that kind of support. Faith, love, determination, ambition, and generosity are among the qualities they have modeled and passed down through the years. Today, we celebrate my grandfather’s birthday. 92 years, now that’s a lot of love. In all the years I can remember, I don’t recall ever hearing him speak badly about anyone. That’s just the kind of man he is. We live in a small town where mostly everyone knows everyone, and we’ve been here for generations (my kids are the fifth). Which is pretty amazing when I stop to think about it. Anyways, people always ask about him when we are out running errands and often express their admiration for his kindness and generosity. He is a man who has always lead by example. He’s brought so much joy to those around him and we always celebrate his day with his favorites: chicken and dumplings, plain orange Jello, and his all time favorite coconut cake – served with a mountain of whipped cream. While trying to figure out the perfect gift, I remembered a conversation that I once had with him. He was telling me about the time he spent overseas during the war.
|That’s Grandpa, on the left. @jaseyscrazydaisy.com|
He said, “… which is where I first had my very favorite cookies, Scotch Shortbread. And if anybody could make them, it would be you,” again with that confidence. I often think if I was ever in trouble, I would be lucky to have him in my corner. He would move mountains for me if necessary. This confidence and his love for sweet things, especially these cookies, is how my quest for the perfect Scotch Shortbread came to light. I have read many recipes, some use granulated sugar, some powdered sugar, and some use a mixture. The butter to flour ratio differs from recipe to recipe, as does the vanilla extract. Even the types of butter, salted versus unsalted varies. I don’t know if I can really claim any one reference for this recipe, as it resulted trial and error, however, I can send you to Williams-Sonoma, for the method I prefer to use. A lot of shortbread cookie recipes call for cutting cold cubed butter into a flour and sugar mixture using a party blender, but I prefer this method the best. I think it is a pretty darn good recipe, and my tasters seem to all agree. Come back and let me know what you think.
- 4 sticks butter, softened
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon more for sprinkling
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 3/4 cups flour
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on high speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the 3/4 cup granulated sugar and the powdered sugar and continue beating until the mixture is no longer gritty when rubbed between your thumb and finger. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once during creaming to blend the ingredients evenly. Beat in the vanilla.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed or stir with a wooden spoon just until blended.
- Using floured fingertips, press the dough evenly into an ungreased small jelly roll pan. Sprinkle evenly with the 1 Tbs. granulated sugar.
- Bake the shortbread until the edges are golden, about 25-30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately use a thin, sharp knife to cut the shortbread into strips 3 inches by 1 inch. Use a toothpick or the tines of a fork to decorate the shortbread with a pattern of dots. Let the strips cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes before transferring them to the rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
- Sometimes I substitute one teaspoon of almond extract for one teaspoon of the vanilla extract to change things up. Either way is delicious, it just depends on what I'm in the mood for.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Adapted from method from Williams-Sonoma
Adapted from method from Williams-Sonoma
Jasey's Crazy Daisy http://jaseyscrazydaisy.com/
What are your favorite treats to give as gifts?