Christmas traditions are just one reason why the season is so special. The decorations and foods that we enjoy are available for just a short time. As a young mother, I would try to incorporate some the traditions I grew up with, along with some of my husband’s, and then, we created some of our own.
One of my family’s favorite Christmas cookies is the very simple shortbread cookie. It was a recipe given to my mother-in-law by one of her friends, whose family came to the U.S. from Scotland. Other than store-bought shortbread, I never had the homemade version. As a new bride, I had asked my husband’s mother for some of her holiday recipes so that our first Christmas away from home included cookies that would bring a taste of home to our house. The aroma of the baking shortbread is nothing short of amazing!
Because these are so easy, and travel well, I made a batch to take to my parent’s house for Christmas Eve. That was about 30 years ago, when we lived out-of-state. My family (which has Scottish roots on my mother’s side) fell in love with these cookies, and my mother, sister and sister-in-law started to bake these as well. But the greatest feeling in the world is that my oldest daughter bakes this shortbread for her husband and daughters, making this recipe a favorite of four generations of my family!
The original recipe doesn’t call for sugar on top of the dough, but to make them look extra special at Christmas, I do sprinkle a little red and/or green colored sugar before I bake them. It is my hope that your family will enjoy these for years to come – as does mine! Merry Christmas!
1 pound of softened butter
4 cups of flour
1 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda (mix in with the flour)
Have butter very soft. Mix flour, baking soda and sugar. Add to butter. Mix to a crumb form (as you would for pie. I use a pastry blender or you can use the kneading attachment of a food processor.) Knead dough lightly. Press into un-greased 9″ tins. Press well into corners. Using a fork, prick through dough all over the top.
Place pans into the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 50 minutes. If need be, bake an additional 10 minutes, but be careful to not over-bake. Top should be lightly browned.
While hot, cut into squares.
© Lynne Cobb – 2014