The Keepers. Cookbooks and Recipes from the past.
I wrote a post recently about wanting to share some of my favorite recipes in some of my favorite cookbooks. I’m a
hoarder collector, people. I love cookbooks.
(Sorry for the blur)
One thing about me – I write in books. I write my name. I often write the date/year I get a book. I underline, comment, highlight, make notes in my books. Whether it’s a novel that has a great quote, an instruction book that has key instructions I want to remember, the Bible (which I even have in the journal form with large margins), and my cookbooks. I write what event I might make something for – and for whom. I write ‘yuck/gross/do not repeat’ if it was a waste of time, money, and energy, and ‘DELICIOUS’ if I want to make this over and over.
This cookbook was one of many wonderful gifts I’ve received from my friend, Dawn. She is professionally trained but was a great cook even before school, but beyond being a good cook, she is an amazing baker and candy maker. You should check her out here. One of the many things I love about Dawn is that she writes in books, too. Well, she writes in cookbooks she’s given me, at least.
How can you tell if one of my cookbooks is a good one or not?
It’s dirty. Dirty with spatters of batter, drops of vanilla extract, flour dusted onto the pages.
I have two favorites in this book, but the one I want to share today is going to be pretty handy in the upcoming weeks. Shortbread cookies. The recipe calls them hearts, and I’ve cut them into hearts before, but you cut them into whatever shape you want them. I often cut them into squares or rectangles. Don’t confuse them with Sugar cookies, though. These are traditional shortbread, meaning they’re a butter cookie with a little sugar, not a sugar cookie with a little butter (or shortening).
Throughout the book there are little quotes written in, as well as detail about the recipes. It’s been out for many years now, so you may be able to find it in a used book store if you don’t want to pay full price. Even with the photo above giving the full recipe, I’ve written it out for you below.
I’ll give you two tips that I always keep in mind when I make these cookies: 1) Use good butter. Yes, there is such a thing, and since you can really taste the butter, make sure that the butter has a delicious fresh flavor, and 2) I sprinkle the cookies with a superfine sugar. I’ve tried regular granulated (works fine) and coarse sugar (works not as well), and superfine. This one creates a dusting of glimmer and sweetness, which seems perfect to me.
I hope you make them. I hope you love them. My husband surely does. And I love to make them for him.
Do you have this cookbook? Do you have a favorite shortbread recipe? Even if you do, make this one and compare. And let me know, I’d love to hear from you.
Shortbread (Hearts or whatever shape you want)
- Yield: 20 Cookies
- Ready In:
A traditional shortbread that you can drizzle or dip into chocolate and is perfect with a cup of tea
- 3/4 lb. unsalted butter 3 sticks. softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 cups flour, unbleached all-purpose sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Cream butter and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy
- Sift flour and salt together and add to creamed mixture. Add vanilla and blend thoroughly.
- Gather dough into a flattened ball, wrap in wax paper, and chill 4-6 hours.
- Roll out chilled dough to a 3/8 inch thickness (shortbread cookies are thicker than sugar cookies!). Using a 3-inch long heart-shaped cookie cutter (or whatever shape you want, just don't make it too detailed, it won't cut out easily), cut out cookies. Sprinkle tops with granulated sugar. Place cut-out cookies on ungreased cookie sheets (line with parchment, if you want) and refrigerate for 45 minutes before baking.
- Preheat oven to 325°F
- Bake 20 minutes, or until just (BARELY) starting to color lightly; cookies should not brown at all. Cool on a rack.