Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Shortbread Stars

Those of you who know me will know that I don’t really like to spend more time in the kitchen than is necessary. I’m not one of these model mothers who bakes everything from scratch. Well OK that is not entirely true; I am a model mother. No, just kidding, I meant I  do like to bake from scratch, I just don’t bake very often. You won’t find me whipping up a batch of muffins Sunday morning or turning out pie crusts and fresh bread every other day. Note to mothers who do this: could you please stop, you are making the rest of us look bad.


So when I do decide to make something, it’s usually a big ordeal. Like yesterday for example when I thought I better do some Christmas Baking because that’s what you do at this time of year. Fortunately, I do have one or two good recipes up my sleeve and I figure once every 12 months is a good time to dust them off. Plus it makes me look good in front of my kids.

“We’re making shortbread” I declared to no one in particular. “And maybe Gingerbread if you’re good”. Family members appeared out of the woodwork and we got down to business.

Shortbread is intimidating if your husband’s family has Scottish grandmothers who baked-the-best-ever-and-so-don’t-even-bother-because-yours-will-never-be-worthy Shortbread. I went through a few recipes before landing on the one on the back of the Canada Cornstarch box. This one is a winner, according to the various grandmothers and husbands who taste-tested it. I tweaked it a bit this year and it’s even better: up the butter to one cup and then double the whole recipe because if you’re like me then you’re going to want to make them a little thicker and this way you can roll them out and cut them into fun shapes.

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup softened salted butter. Do not even consider using margarine. If you do, I cannot be held responsible for the bad luck that will befall you.


Sift together the cornstarch, icing (powdered) sugar and flour. Or not. Whatever. Just mix it together already! Who has time to sift anything anyway.

Cut the butter into chunks and work it through the flour mixture with your fingertips until it looks like a flour mixture with bits of lumpy butter in it. Then you can start squeezing it into a soft smooth dough. Don’t overdo it. Or better yet let your kid do this part. Their pudgy little hands look so cute…


Throw down some flour and then roll out your dough with a rolling pin. Don’t roll it any thinner than 3/4 of an inch. Seriously! It’s better this way. Cut out whatever shapes you want.



Place 1 1/2" apart on a cookie sheet.


Bake 300' for 15-18 minutes at which point you will open the oven door and declare that they can’t possibly be done yet. They are. Take them out now! Leave them to cool for a bit and then carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool. After 30 seconds, you will forget about letting them cool for any longer and will want to eat one. Go ahead! 


That’s what I’m talking about. It’s all about the comfort, people. All about the comfort.
Stay tuned for my favourite gingerbread recipe coming soon.

Thanks for reading and happy baking:)



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