Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Carole Cooking

Well the title's not a complete fabrication - I'm sure the reason Mum was named Carole is because she was born on Boxing Day (26th December), not due until the New Year but my Nana ate too much Christmas dinner...or so the story goes ;o)

On Friday I'd rung Mum & suggested that we get together & make some shortbread. I love Mum's shortbread I told her my memory needed refreshing & that I'd like to watch the seasoned maestro in action - hehehe. She brought it????

Knowing my penchant for sunshine, & the likelihood of me cancelling if it was a hot sunny day - I rather suspect that someone was watching me when we woke to this!

Of course I donned appropriate summer footwear for a rainy day (ever practical....that's me)

Let the baking begin!
Mum's 'basic' Shortbread recipe:
  • 1/2 lb butter
  • 2 1/2 cups standard flour
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornflour

When I saw Mum squinting at the scales I suggested that she actually wear her glasses.... then quickly took a photo of her when everything was mixing up. She has her shortbread recipe down to an art - & is more concerned with the correct texture than the exact amounts of anything.

Cream the softened butter, & icing sugar until light & fluffy, almost white. (Pour gin & tonic each whilst these are creaming away merrily.)
Gradually add the flour & cornflour, sifted together . Now when Mum says gradually - she means gradually & letting it mix in well between each addition (this gives you time to throw together some crackers & camembert to have with the G&T).
You may or may not use all of the flour, the important thing is to stop adding when you have a soft dough that has just reached the stage where it no longer sticks to your mixer or fingers, if you pick up a bit & pinch it between them.

Have a sip of your G&T, & empty the dough onto a lightly floured surface & form into a log.

Rolling, rolling, rolling until you have

A whopper!

Slice, not too thinly (Mum makes each slice about 10mm thick) & squeeze the log back into shape between each slice.

Place on a baking tray that is carefully being guarded by the G&T.

Place in an oven that has been preheated to 150 celsius - 300 fahrenheit for 30 minutes, checking from 20 minutes onwards - it the bottom is lightly golden, it's done! If the bottom is still pale it just doesn't taste the same.

Ahh the part I was waiting for, licking the mixer - a 40 something year old daughter who really only wanted to relive her childhood & see if licking the mixer was the best part of the whole process! Perhaps it's the second best thing - these days it seems that warm shortbread fresh out of the oven is the best part.

** This was my Grandmother's (Granny Batten) recipe & traditionally it was rolled flat, cut into squares, pinched at the corners & pricked a couple of times with the fork before being baked. I clearly recall 40 odd years ago watching Mum make it that way & it all sticking to the bench top & tearing when she went to put the spatula under it to remove it. With an exclamation of 'bother - there has got to be an easier way than this' she scooped up the lot rolled it into the log & started slicing , the method she uses today.


angelinabeadalina said...

Yum! It is so much more fun watching them make it and then getting to lick the bowl, isn't it :) Hey, I'll bet if your mum tried to make the squares now, she'd have them perfectly non-sticky and easy to pick up with the spatula...I can tell by the care she's taking in adding her flour until she gets just the right texture.

Sweetwater Designs said...

How is it that no matter how old and 'seasoned' ha!..we get our Mom's still make the best shortbread? I made some of these Saturday but the lazy mans drop by the spoonful kind.
Happy holidays to you Deb!
and lovely pedi by the way :-)

Anonymous said...

hi debs just made your mums shortbread yum i must say but i bet its not as good as your mums she is amazing cook lucky you to get to lick the bowl not the same when you have made it your self all i wanted was to get cleaned up