Saturday, December 12, 2015

Holiday Baking - the good, the bad and the ugly, but still tasty

I've been telling my shortbread baking tale on Facebook. Rather than trying to re-tell this story, I'm just going to share it here - as it happened.

But there's a little bit of a backstory.

Harley and I had a playdate recently with our friends Pam and Jerry Williamson.

And I had some of the BEST shortbread I've ever tasted.

Could not get enough.

Made a bit of a pig of myself.

And have been craving more shortbread ever since.

Then I ran across this gorgeous shortbread picture on Facebook.

Facebook, by the way, can make a person drool with some of the recipes and photos that come through our newsfeed.

When I clicked through to the recipe, there was a video of Ina Garten making the shortbread, and honey - it looked easy peasy.

Now. I love to bake. But I'm mostly a cake baker. Bundt cakes particularly.

Cookies have always been Donald's bailiwick.

He, however, didn't seem all that interested in baking shortbread.


I mixed up my dough and here's how it went . . . 

I'm off to the kitchen - time to bake some shortbread!

When am I ever going to learn that just 'cause it looks easy for Ina Garten it's not necessarily easy for mere non-kitchen-goddess mortals.

okay - so. we're going to walk away from this for awhile. I'm thinking that I perhaps did not mix all the ingredients well enough, or long enough. So right now there's a big bowl of very crumbly "dough" sitting on the kitchen table coming back to room temp at which time we will commence to beat/whip/whatever the sugar out of it. wink emoticon So glad our neighborhood Christmas party wasn't tonight . . . and so glad this was an unplanned extra and not my originally intended contribution to dinner. <sigh>

It was right about here, I think, when my friend Dru Ann suggested I just buy this shortbread stuff at the bakery.

Which sounded more than reasonable.

But - not one to give up easily, I persevered.

Feeling a little like that little engine that could.
The crumbly mess that was in no way going to pass for "dough" for my shortbread is now looking exactly like Ina Garten's dough at this stage.
I think singing Tom Petty's "Stand me up at the gates of hell, I won't back down" was what did it, truth be told.
Oh, and Dru Ann offering to come set the timer. smile emoticon
Dough is now chilling.
Whether I actually try to make shortbread tonight is another story.
I'm not sure I could face the failure after getting this far.
Methinks a glass of wine is probably called for.
Don't you?

I had given up on mixing my dough too soon. I "think" we're all set now. i think . . .

So. first batch of shortbread is in the oven. If there's a baking saint, could y'all send up a little prayer, please? IS there a saint for baking??
If not - could you just cross your fingers, please?
Dru Ann? Bakery. Yes. Next time!

I love Facebook. This is where I learned from Terrie Moran that St. Elizabeth of Hungary is the patron saint of bakers.  And that St. Francis de Sales is the patron saint of journalists and writers.  And Lesa Holstine tells me St. Catherine of Alexandria is patron saint of librarians and lawyers. So she has Lesa and her sister Linda covered.

Shortbread - Yay!!
and they'll just get prettier as we go along.
Not too bad for a first attempt and the first batch though - you think?!

Don Barley has declared the shortbread "tasty." Truth be told, I was hoping for something like "Oh, Honey - C'est magnifique!"

After figuring out what I had done wrong and corrected it, making the dough exactly as it should have been to start with, and after one trial batch of shortbread. I decided it was tine to walk away.

Hanging up my apron and oven mitts for the night so I can read for awhile.
and we'll get back to the shortbread tomorrow.
Nite, all!

And this morning I got back to it and finished up all the cookies.

They'll be going to our neighborhood Christmas party this evening.

But now I'll tell you a secret.

I'm proud as punch that I got my shortbread baked.

And it tastes okay.


Truth be told?

What I had at Pam and Jerry's was better.

A lot better.

So - take Dru Ann's advice and buy your shortbread at a bakery OR






and now, cats n' kittens,  I'm back to the kitchen.

Next item up for tonight's get together is a pork tenderloin.

THIS?  Pork tenderloin?

This I'm not worried about.

Happy Holiday Baking, Y'all!

Have fun!

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