Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Holiday Shortbread with the Goodness of Gay Lea #BornOnTheFarm

Holidays and food seem to be linked in most of our minds. I know in my family the big family meals have always been a key component to our celebrations, whether it be a birthday, Christmas Day, New Years Day, or whatever. My grandmother's turkey, the roast moose we always had on Christmas Eve, the duck Mom would make for Dad on New Year's - these were important traditions growing up and great memories today.

Baked goods played a big role in the Christmas holidays for sure. Both of my grandmothers made excellent fruit cake (and, yes, I love dark fruit cake! Haters be darned.) My uncle did a fantastic cherry cake. And there was always a huge assortment of cookies and squares. Thinking back, I was rarely included in the baking extravaganza, perhaps because my grandmothers had "their way" and were happier doing it themselves when the celebratory stakes were so high.

These days, in my little family, I try to get Boo involved in the holiday prep as much as possible. I love baking memories with him, although as he gets older he seems less interested. He does enjoy decorating a gingerbread house though. My favourite thing to bake for the holidays? Shortbread. Probably because it's also my favourite treat to eat. Sweet, buttery, crumbly goodness. The best shortbread just melts in your mouth. But to accomplish that you need the right recipe, and the right ingredients.
Gay Lea butter and cookie cutters
The secret to great shortbread is in the butter
Shortbread has very few ingredients, and the butter is critical. I generally choose Gay Lea salted butter in my recipe, even though every shortbread recipe seems to call for unsalted. I prefer the flavour with salted butter, and I am always happy with the results. To aid in creaming the butter with the icing sugar, I leave it on the counter for a couple of hours to soften before combining.

Prepared Shortbread dough
Crumbly Perfection
If you've never made shortbread before, this is what your finished dough should look like after mixing - crumbly and separated. You will form it into a ball with your hands for rolling out, but it will not come together with the mixer.
Holiday Shortbread with Gay Lea Butter
The finished product just melts in your mouth.
My recipe is based on the recipe for Scotch Shortbread in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

1/2 pound Gay Lea Salted Butter
1/2 cup Icing Sugar
2 cups flour
dash of salt
green and red cherries to decorate

Let butter come to room temperature on counter. Preheat oven to 350F. Cream the butter in a large bowl. Add icing sugar and beat well. Stir in the flour and salt and combine until crumbly. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Flatten slightly and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out cookies with your favourite cutters and transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet. As you work, continue to collect the dough remnants and roll out again to cut, until all dough is used. Press half of a cherry into the top of each cookie and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly brown on the edges.

About Gay Lea Foods

Gay Lea Foods is a co-operative owned by over 1,200 farm families, which represents about one quarter of Ontario's dairy farmers. They have 12 production facilities spanning Toronto, Madoc, Mississauga, Guelph, and Teeswater. You can connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

A Giveaway

Would you like to try Gay Lea's line of products in your kitchen? One lucky RMB reader will receive 12 coupons for free Gay Lea products to take them through 2016! Entries are via the widget below and will be accepted until 11:59pm, January 6, 2016. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec. Best of luck!

Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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