Adventures in baking (with someone who is a disaster in the kitchen)

I baked another batch of my grandmother’s (in)famous shortbread cookies:

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The finished product.

Some background: my grandmother was, by all accounts, a complicated woman. Using a recipe from a magazine, she baked my father these special cookies each Christmas; in later years, sometimes omitting crucial ingredients or adding new ones– my father swears she put small pieces of glass in a batch. She died a decade ago without giving anyone the full recipe. Through the magic of the internet, I saved myself the trouble of having to search through old magazine issues in the library and found the recipe online.  It’s a simple, old-timey and straight forward recipe, and, most importantly, it makes a batch that taste just like my grandmother’s cookies.

This is the recipe.

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Here is the butter all whipped up and the vanilla and sugar just being added.

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Here I’ve fully mixed all three ingredients.

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This is with the full amount of flour added. I found that I needed to stop using a mixer and switch to a spoon after about two cups.

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My lovely cookie lumps. My very MacGyvery process of dividing them into 1×1 inch squares shall remain shrouded in mystery. (I forgot to take a picture). I did not roll them in coarse sugar because I was trying to replicate my grandmother’s cookies, and she never did so.

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Depressing the cookies with my thumbs (note that a sad story might work too).

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These babies are ready to go in the oven! Note that the recipe calls for them to be baked 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees F. I’m not sure if it was the stove I was using, but to achieve a very crunchy/browned cookie, I let them bake for approximately 20 minutes. To make sure you don’t burn them to death, just monitor them every two minutes or so.

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While the cookies baked, I made the chocolate ganache. Mixing two ingredients is something I’m capable of excelling at.

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The newly chocolate-topped cookies. The recipe all but demands that you enjoy the cookies immediately, as fast as is humanly possible, lest they hatch an escape plan (or something). I find that letting them sit for a few days greatly enhances the flavor. I think they taste better once the chocolate has hardened.

So there you have it. Some pretty quick and pain-free shortbread cookies!

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