Tag Archives: easy gifts

Shortbread

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I could tell you that this amazing and delicious shortbread recipe was handed down in my family for generations…but I would be lying. So, instead I will come clean and admit that the recipe is actually from the Toronto Star circa. 1986…but it was given to me by my mother. It is really scary that 1986 doesn’t seem like that long ago… (it’s actually only 27 years ago). I know…that means I am getting OLD! Speaking of getting old, I have had a few moments like that lately. The other day, I was working with a grade 7 class and somehow the topic of 9/11 came up. I asked the class how old they were when it happened, and where they were or what they remembered from that day…. it turns out that most of the class hadn’t even been born when it happened! Anyways, enough about me feeling old, let’s get back to the shortbread!

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I have made this same recipe for several years now, and at this point, I don’t even read the recipe. You only really need only four ingredients (although I ran out of vanilla extract, which I would add if I had it)
You need: 1 cup rice flour, 3 1/2 cups flour, 1 pound of butter, and 1 1/4 cups of sugar.
Before you start, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

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Make sure you have let the butter soften at room temperature, then chop it into smaller chunks or cubes.

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Then, put the butter into the food processor and blend it for a few minutes.

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Then, slowly pour the sugar in. I let the food processor go for 3-5 minutes, depending on the speed. You want it to be light and fluffy.

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Then, in a seperate bowl, mix the flour and rice flour, then slowly add to processor. We added a spoonful at a time.

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When you have mixed in all of the flour, pour out the mixture onto the cookie sheet. Kneed it a little by hand to ensure everything has mixed together. I do this right on the cookie sheet.

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Then, pat it flat onto the pan.

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Then, to give it the traditional shortbread look, and to ensure it cooks evenly, I poke it with a fork in rows like this…

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Put in the oven for about 12 minutes, turn around so it evenly browns and bake for about another 10-15 minutes, maybe more depending upon your oven. You will know it’s done when it turns a golden brown colour, like this:

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The trick is to cut them right when they come out of the oven. They are soft, and cut easily without crumbling. If you wait until they cool, they harden and it will be much more difficult to cut.
I start by slicing the pan into halves, then quarters…

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Then slice the opposite way…

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I let them cool in the pan. If you try to take them out too soon, they will be more likely to crumble, but they do taste delicious when warm!

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They last about a couple of weeks, but like any baked goods, are better fresh.

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This was my fourth batch this week. I gave it out as presents to the kids teachers, friends, and hostess gifts. I packaged them up in a little box with a couple jars of homemade jam. The kids had 14 teachers between them this this year, so I had quite a production line going on in the dining room this week.

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Thank goodness, it is all done! Gifts all delivered and we are now officially on holidays. The last batch is for us to enjoy!
Take care, enjoy the holidays!

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Holiday Bark!

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Last night, one of my projects was to finish up a project I thought I would share because it is so easy to do, and relatively inexpensive. But, because it is homemade, it is much nicer than a box of chocolates.
So, I will show you how to make holiday chocolate “bark”. Basically, what I mean by bark is, melted chocolate mixed with another ingredient. Is is called bark because when it hardens, it looks kind of rough and textured, like tree bark.
I ended up making six different kinds of bark, but all of them are made in the same way. I bought most of the ingredients at Bulk Barn- I love that place! I would recommend buying a better quality chocolate for this, as it does make a difference to the taste.
So…start by melting the chocolate. I always melt chocolate in a glass bowl that I sit in a pot of simmering water. I have tried melting chocolate in the microwave, but I have never had much luck…it always melts unevenly or burns on me…

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after the chocolate has melted, I mix in the topping and spread it out onto a piece of waxed paper on a cookie sheet.

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To make it look a little more festive, (and to make it easier to figure out what kind it is) I then melt a little bit of coloured chocolate in a sandwich bag. To melt just a little bit of chocolate, put the bag into a cup of hot water and squeeze it around until it has melted. Then snip off the corner and squeeze it on top.

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I either put the cookie sheet outside or in the freezer for a few minutes to cool down. Test to see if they are cool enough by breaking them. If they snap, they are ready. If they bend, they need to be cooler.
I break them into bite sized pieces, then put 6-10 pieces in a small cellophane bag (also from Bulk Barn) I printed out some little labels (Avery from Staples or Office Depot), and put a few different kinds in a box with tissue paper.

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The six different kinds I made are
-almond and orange chocolate (I used the Terry’s chocolate)
-m&m’s and milk chocolate
-candy cane and mint chocolate
-chocolate chip cookies and dark chocolate
-skor pieces and butterscotch chips
-dried cranberry and white chocolate

Btw-part of the reason I package them up is so they don’t get eaten!
Enjoy!

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