Monthly Archives: December 2012

Elegant and scrumptious- Brown Sugar Shortbread (what else r u doing Boxing Day?)

Shortbread Brown Sugar

In case you ran out of Christmas cookies before Christmas (what?  it was only me?) you will have a perfect reason for making more.  I took the opportunity to make–for the first time– a family recipe passed on to me by my friend Marilyn.  Her short bread (and her mincemeat tarts) are now almost as highly anticipated as my own mom’s cookies (almost! I said almost mam!)

Shortbread Final 2

Marilyn’s daughter Emma, also a good friend has posted the recipe on her very fun blog Strolling the City in Heels, where you can learn a little more about their family tradition.  I am posting the step-by-step picture version for my friends who say they “don’t bake”  to give them reason to take a crack at bringing joy to their cookie jar. (Get a cookie jar people).  And BTW while on Emma’s blog, also check out Marilyn’s Tourtiere recipe.

butter shortbread

You only need three ingredients starting with 1 pd salted butter at room temperature.  (I only had unsalted butter so added 1/4 tsp salt per stick of butter for a total of 1 teaspoon salt)

brown sugar

Brown sugar, packed 3/4 cup.

Screen Shot 2012-12-25 at 12.24.26 PM

And then the recipe says, “4 heaping cups flour”.  Which makes perfect sense to anyone who has made the recipe a million times.  But I wasn’t sure if it meant scoop the flour (which packs it more) or fill the cup with a spoon.  So I filled the cup with a scoop and let it heap a bit.

Then I weighed the flour for future reference.  (I used 650g of all-purpose flour for anyone who has a scale and is anal like me.)

cream sugar

Step 1: Cream the butter and sugar.

Shortbread dough

Step 2: Add the flour and combine well. I started with a wooden spoon but finished (as the recipe says) with my hands.  Be really careful to get all the flour integrated well (really get your hands in there!) with the butter/sugar so there are not white streaks in the dough–or (as happened to me) when you roll it out parts of the dough will not stick together.

rolled dough

Step 3: The recipe then says you pat the dough out to about 1/2 inch thick.  Use the base of your hand to flatten for a smooth surface (if you use your finger tips the dough will have many indents).  I finished off with a quick pass with the rolling-pin  (cheater–I know!) and rolled in a couple batches.

Also–my dough was about 3/4 thick which in my mind’s memory is the thickness of Marilyn’s cookies.

Shortbread cookie cutters

Step 4: Now  have a grand old-time cutting out your cookies.   All my cookie cutters stuck to Marilyn’s original size (or slightly under) about 2-3 inches.

uncooked short bread

Place on parchment lined cookie sheets. Prick the uncooked shapes with a fork and sprinkle with white or coloured sugar.

Cooling shortbread

Step 5: Preheat the oven to 300.

Bake for 20 minutes or til golden (says the recipe).  But mine baked for 40 minutes until they were golden-which seems strange–maybe just my oven?  But they turned out delicious and not burnt at all.  So, check them at 20 minutes and add 5 minutes at a time.


Short bread on plate

The Original Recipe (my notes are above)


4 heaping cups all purpose flour

1 pound salted butter, softened to room temperature

3/4 cup packed brown sugar


Cream butter and sugar together.  Add flour, mixing in thoroughly with your hands.

Pat dough out to about 1/2” thick. Cut cookies with cutters. Prick each cookie with a fork and dust with coloured sugar.

Bake at 300 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool thoroughly on racks

PS Just imagine the cookie cutter potential—hearts for Valentines Day, Beer mugs for St. Patricks Day, Dollar Signs for when the US falls off the Fiscal Cliff…..


Filed under All Recipes, Uncategorized

Fastest Lunch in the world for Christmas Eve Day: Vacherin Mont d’Or

The wonderful Vacherin Mont D'Or

The wonderful Vacherin Mont D’Or

Good Morning everyone!  Instead of running out to the closest mall–run to the closest cheese store and pick up a Vacherin Mont d’Or and a baguette.

Featured today for as my Monday “Lunch” piece in the Globe, you won’t find a faster or more satisfying meal.

Happy Holidays!


PS I know Whole Foods and Cheese Boutique has them, leave a comment if you’ve seen them anywhere else and we can get everyone hooked up!


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Curds and Eh: Cheese for the (possible) End of the World

Chateau de Bourgogne..

Chateau de Bourgogne..

The latest from Kelsie Parsons. Thanks Kelsie!  SR

With the potential end of the world quickly approaching in four days I’ve been considering my last meal. More specifically the last cheese I would eat. It’s really not a hard decision for me. I immediately knew what it would be.

Chateau de Bourgogne.

Chateau de Bourgogne 2

This cheese is my heroin. One bite and I sink into a state of buttery bliss. The bloomy rind is like freshly fallen snow and the body of the cheese melts if you even glance at it. I’ve always referred to it as ‘cloud cheese.’ Not that this triple cream is ‘light’ but I think the term accurately describes the texture. The fat content doesn’t matter anyway; if it’s the last cheese I’ll enjoy, I’ll eat it like cake.

Brillat-Savarin triple cream

Brillat-Savarin triple cream

Despite my total adoration of this lovely fromage, you wouldn’t hear me complaining if it wasn’t available (the end of the world is no time to complain!). In a pinch, Délice de Bourgogne or Brillat Savarin would also do.   (What about Pierre Robert?  says Sue)

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I think I’ll request December 21st off work so I can spend it with the cheese I love. Whether the apocalypse is caused by a meteorite, the Second Coming, nuclear war or the official cancellation of this year’s NHL season, I’ll go out with a smile as long as I’m indulging in some Chateau de Bourgogne.

Chose ONE cheese?  WHAT?

Chose ONE cheese? WHAT?

What cheese would you choose?

Mayan calendar and its bitter predictions..

The Mayan calendar with its bitter predictions..

Here’s to hoping the end of the Mayan calendar doesn’t lead to the end of the world so we can all enjoy many more wedges of curdaceous glory.


Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Curds and Eh, Uncategorized

Easiest Bestest Shortbread–it’s a breeze. A melt-in-your-mouth breeze.

Shortbread threesome

Shortbread.  Who doesn’t love it?  And now you can make it in no time at all–the most challenging part will be holding the electric beaters.  Honest.   Holiday baking does not have to be hard.

Single shortbread

I spent a day baking with my friend Lianne and we made these at about 9:30 pm–after a long day of sparkles and sugar cookie mayhem with cookie meister Felix.  We almost decided it was just too late–and then suddenly they were done.  And being eaten at a pace where our metabolism didn’t stand a chance.

So thank you Ruth Krohnert, here is the recipe for “Melt in Your Mouth” Shortbread.

Shortbread recipe

Only one additional tip–depending on your oven you might want to check these at about 17-18 minutes.  You want them to remain pale white.

And you can make much cooler sprinkle colours (Martha Stewart cool)  than the store-bought–just follow Ruth’s instructions.

Screen Shot 2012-12-15 at 12.49.01 PM

Now, I’m not saying they are the most beautiful shortbread ever, I am sayin’ they’re bloody delicious.

So now that you have that all set, look at some of our sugar cookies.  Here is Felix making his masterpiece:

Felix works on cookie

And ok, I made these and do think they are kind of cute (yes, 2 out of the 30 I decorated made it to CUTE).

Sugar Cookie Santa and reindeer

Have a great weekend and I have two great posts coming up from Kelsie Parsons…..stay tuned.

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The words “Cookie Exchange” need not cause a panic attack

PIC 2 Final Squares 2

It’s that time of year!  Expect an email with subject: Cookie Exchange! to pop-up in the INBOX.  Do not leap back in fear as one does from email chain letters that promise certain death (sent from you favourite Aunt).  Instead be the first to say YES, I will do it.  Cookie exchanges are actually a lot of fun and if you make these simple 7-Layer squares (errr..cookies) your end of the deal will be sealed and sliced in no time.  No flour involved.

Add coconut

If you can layer things like shredded coconut  (notice a child doing it)..

chocolate chips..

or chocolate chips….

and drizzle with condensed milk (you may need to know how to open a can at this point)

You can end up with this….

Just out of the oven!

All these pics are pulled from more specific directions on my Family Fun blog for  Just click HERE to go there for the recipe.  If you have a non stick pan that is the best way to go, but I just used a ceramic casserole dish.

PIC 1 Final Squares 1

And I’d love to hear if there are any classic 7 layer (or 5 layer or 9 layer) cookies in your holiday repertoire!

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