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

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

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.


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


Here I’ve fully mixed all three ingredients.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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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