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Friday, September 10, 2010

Contest Entry 1

Well, for the third year in a row I entered the same write a column contest and didn't win:-(
I sent in 3 entries as this year there was no limit to how many you could submit. Here is the first one I wrote. I'll post the other 2 soon. Enjoy!

Dear Reader,
There’s something special about a cookie recipe handed down through generations. I mean the ones that were made before anyone started thinking about how bad all that sugar and butter is for you. I have many such treasures in my file, some written in my mother’s hand, some by mine, some typed on file cards and some scribbled on random scrap paper as they were told to me. Each of us has that go-to recipe that we can make without much thought when needed. Mine is Scottish Shortbread.
I never had shortbread cookies before I met my husband. His paternal grandparents, Gram and Mampy, with whom he had a close relationship were from Scotland. He told me that Gram generally kept a tin of shortbread in the pantry. As Gram passed away about a month after I married into the family, Mampy was the one who showed me how to make it. Side by side with him one summer evening in my mother-in-law’s kitchen I was instructed in the making of this simple cookie, my sister-in-law interjecting her methods and my mother-in-law quietly sipping coffee. As it baked, we sat around the table drinking coffee and listening to Mampy recite stories from his childhood. One of my favorites is how as a young lad he and his friend caught birds and put them inside their jackets. They went to the movies and opened their jackets to release the birds that then flew toward the movie screen. He always laughed when he told this story. I bet he was something when he was a kid. How I miss listening to his stories told in his Scottish accent over cookies!
I taught my oldest daughter how to make shortbread a couple of years ago. Her first solo effort was last Christmas. As a junior in college she had a campus apartment with 3 friends and they enjoyed baking. As a treat she wanted to make the shortbread for them. That evening I received a frantic text message from her that included a picture of burnt shortbread with the question “what did I do wrong?” I called her to try to trouble shoot from a distance and it turned out that the oven temperature knob was not accurate. She was very disappointed, but her friends ate some anyway and declared the cookies to be delicious. How very kind they are to each other! In the spring she came home for a weekend and tried again. This time she was successful, and took it back to share with a class for which she had to write a report about a family recipe. Another generation making the same recipe, unchanged through the years. Even though my daughter was young when Mampy passed on, and she never knew Gram, she takes a piece of them with her through knowing how to make the shortbread.
Ingredients: 1 stick butter
1 stick margarine
½ cup granulated sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
Sugar for sprinkling on top, plain or colored
Cream butter, margarine and sugar until very creamy. Mix the flour in well. The more you work with it, the better. Divide dough into 9 balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten each ball into a ¼-½ inch thick circle. Press the tines of a fork around the edges to make a pattern, then prick the inner circle a number of times. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake in a 275* oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven, immediately cut each circle into 6 wedges and remove to wire rack to cool. Makes 54 pieces.

1 comment:

Kathi said...

Yummy.. not much to not like about that!! Sounds like a great recipe and even greater family memories to cherish.