My aunt knows how to lay a table. She uses good china, silver, and cloth napkins even for the breakfast table, which is laid the night before. Lunch may be as simple as homemade soup and bread, but somehow it becomes a gracious break in the day, time to sit, and enjoy a small, wonderful meal. A few treats will be arranged on a pretty plate, to be enjoyed with a pot of tea before heading back into the day.
One of my favourite treats she makes is her shortbread. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that hers was a recipe that should definitely be preserved. I have never had a shortbread as good as hers, quite simply it is the best. It is slightly rustic, giving it a timeless quality.
4 oz unsalted butter (113 gr / ½ c) room temperature
2 oz sugar (50 gr / ¼ c)
5 oz flour (135 gr / 1 c)
1 oz whole-wheat flour (30 gr / ¼ c)
a good pinch of salt (do not use if you are using salted butter)
Preheat oven to 300°
Using a mixer, cream the butter.
Divide dough into two, and shape into 6” rounds.
Prick well, and score into 8 even wedges each.
Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for until just starting to turn golden brown, about 40-45 minutes
Remove from oven, and sprinkle with sugar.
Cut through the wedges while still warm.
Once cool, store in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
The recipe doubles well. I like a thick shortbread, so I double the recipe when I’m using my 9” thistle mold. Allow for an extra 10-15 minutes in the oven when cooking a thicker shortbread. (All photos are from a double batch cooked in the 9” mold.)
All of the ingredients can be creamed and mixed using a good strong wooden spoon and a comfortable bowl, no mixer required.