Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mom's Christmas shortbread recipe...

Bungalow baking increases exponentially here at this time of year.
I bake for family, friends, events and to give as gifts.

I set aside a day as a "baking day"
I do not try to do much else or I will invite stress into my life...

I get my "head into the right space" and this is done with relative ease...
The apron is instrumental it is the uniform of choice and as important as having all the ingredients at hand.
You do not want to be "rushing out" to buy something that you have forgotten or are short of...
plan ahead, make a list, check it twice :)

Dress in comfortable clothing that is flour friendly (no silks or taffeta)

Pearls are fine !

cozy cashmere sox

Put some great music that inspires and energizes...
sip a beverage to keep hydrated...for me it's usually a mug of tea,
roll up your sleeves and follow the recipe...
joyfully !

this recipe is such a reliable basic
 an original Scottish recipe from several generations ago

I return to it every year
I do not recommend doubling this recipe
make it as it stands 
you can however make several batches 
the results are rich and buttery
do not overbake
they "set up" on a rack quite nicely as they cool

If you try this let me know what you think

and don't forget to sample the product when finished
a good cook never serves or gives anything that doesn't meet his or her standards!

Look what arrived in the post!

I recently read Michael Tonello's Bringing Home the Birkin
I loved it...
 he has kindly sent me this signed bookplate
all the way from Barcelona.

I have it on good authority that he is working to a December deadline for his new book
I'll be sending him a proper Thank You note in the post
Michael if you are reading this...
Thanks so much!


  1. He-weasel LOVES shortbread. I have never made it for him. I always buy him Walker's shortbread. I might surprise him and try your mother's recipe. Thanks for sharing it.
    p.s. I bet the shortbread tastes much better when the baker is wearing pearls.;-)

  2. Let's see...cashmere, pearls, shortbread and samples - what could be better! Well...maybe a purring Pepper on your lap.(-:

  3. Dear Hostess of the Humble Bungalow,
    mmmh - that sounds so delicious that I will try it very soon - because I love Shortbread and the oven is installed, and I will be able to find the scales, and the silver fork must do :-)
    Together with IGs recipe I have authentic Scottish and Irish role models - wonderful. And my family is greedily expecting me to bake "the ultimate brownies" - which I do only once a year - and when I do, I will write down the recipe on w&p (till now it is top secret) - because you were all so generous in sharing!
    Your handwriting is absolutely beautiful - and I just found out - in the little Internet-less interval - how beautiful it is to get real letters again (which I still write too)

  4. This Christmas I'm baking my mother's fruit cake recipe for the first time in my life.
    Mum is in care and no longer able to keep this tradition going herself so I'm stepping up to the plate.
    Silly I know but I'm nervous. We are talking one mighty big cake which takes 4hrs to cook.
    Maybe if I prepare the ingredients wearing my best apron and decked out in my pearls it will be smooth sailing.
    Thanks for the inspiration Hostess.

  5. Dear Hostess, I really do admire the way you are so organised in preparing for every festive season. I do so love homemade goodies but, I fear, they have to be made in some other home as I am incapable of it. Your shortbread will, I am sure, be delicious and welcomed by anyone fortunate enough to receive some as a gift.

  6. hi leslie,

    i love that you wear your pearls and bake. why not? i bet your recipe is delicious and how exciting to get a signed bookplate/acknowledgement from the author. what fun blogging is. now i want to go read it. back to the library.


  7. Pearls, cozy cashmere, tea and a day set aside to bake shortbread cookies. Sounds lovely and I will try your recipe--nothing better than shortbread!

  8. I love shortbread and am always looking for a good recipe. This sounds like an easy one and I think I will give it a try.
    I need to plan my baking day soon. I have "helpers" which makes it fun but takes a lot longer than without help.

  9. I love the idea of you baking in socks and pearls, mug of tea in hand.

  10. As a novice baker, I have to ask all of you pro bakers: How do you store your cookies when you bake weeks before Christmas? Do you freeze them or keep them in the fridge, or is room temperature storage OK? I'm just wondering how to keep al my baking fresh and tasty if I do it so early in the month... Thanks in advance for your advice!--Hope

  11. What a great idea :-) Pearls and cashmere socks to make a woman feel....well, like a woman. And love the family recipe. Such a rich tradition. BTW...Your blog has inspired me in such a way as I am passing along two blog awards. Please visit my blog at to accept one or both of them. And before I go, I want to thank you for sharing your life, your thoughts, your passions with all of us. ~ Blessings, Janet

  12. Loved bringing home the birkin! Well done cooking in pearls. xxxx

  13. Dear Ms Leslie, I admire the deliberateness with which you approach cooking and entertaining. How lovely to be both beautiful in your pearls and comfortable in your socks while cooking. My eldest daughter's class has a bake sale (proceeds to Chilean charities) tomorrow so I have been baking coconut cupcakes a la Martha Stewart. However, I am now adorned in bits of cake batter and smell of eau de cupcake. The kitchen looks as if a bomb has gone off and I have yet to ice the rotten things! I had best get back in there!

  14. Hello Leslie, ignore this if you've already got a comment from me. I tried using the iPhone to comment, somewhat Dodgy process with me.
    So, thanks for recommending the B home the B. I bought a Kindle 2 weeks ago, and it was the first book I downloaded, thanks to your suggestion.
    Loved it.
    Then Paddy, the famous sister, went off to the Brisbane Launch (tres exclusive, invitation only, including lunch) of Hermes. She's that famous! I was able to tell her all the inside goss on Birkins thanks to your book idea. Told her to go to the opening, charge ahead of any Asian Men, buy many scarves, a notebook, a watch or two, then ask for a (not Faux) Fuchsia Croc Birkin - she'd be sure to get one.

    Funny she did not take up the suggestion, nor did she invite me to tag along to the function.

    Louise in Townsville

    PS Bought the Kindle because we'll be travelling overseas for ages in two weeks and I am over lugging lots of indispensable books with me. I must say the 9inch screen Kindle DX is surprisingly pleasant to read. I am using a lot already. And I am a SERIOUS luddite about books.

  15. LaBeletteRouge- I hope that you'll try this is better than Walkers...he Weasel might like to sip a single malt with a couple of pieces for a full on Scottish experience...Mr. HB does :)

    LaVieQuotidienne- Pepper plays at my feet in the kitchen...I took some photos of her "helping" me which I will post soon.

    Britta- I should use my silver fork...glad that you are back in the blogosphere...missed you.

    Anne-Marie- That sounds like my mom's Xmas cake! The house will be wafting in scented gorgeousness...and bravo for you to keep the tradition going.

    Edith Hope- I am more than sure that you have talents and qualities that I sadly lack...besides I enjoy being domestic.

  16. the gardener's cottage- I hope that you enjoy the book...

    annie- I hope that you come back and visit again.

    Catherine@agardenerinprogress- Helpers make it much more fun...that's how it was when my kids were here...they'd eat it as fast as I could bake it !

    LPC- I do have my quirks...who says working in the kitchen is something not worth dressing for...

    anonymous-I keep then in wax paper lined tins in a dark cold cupboard...if you are in a hot climate it might be wise to put them in the fridge but I think freezing would result in a mass of crumbs.

  17. Janet Ellis- I'll pop over and visit...happy to have you here today.

    FauxFuchsia- You always look so fabulously turned out...I have a sneaky feeling that you dress up too !

    Linda in Chile- Yummy, I would love to sample your coconut cupcakes... The bomb effect is all part of baking don't you think?
    I feel the floor must bedecked with flour and icing sugar...and the stacked up washing beside the goes with the territory.

    Louise in Townsville- How exciting for your sister to attend that opening...I once got an invite to meet a master leather specilaist at Hermes...and I am far from famous...I am merely a repeat customer.
    Have fun with the Kindle and enjoy your trip overseas.

  18. That looks almost identical to my old shortbread recipe...haven't made it in quite a long time. A pound of butter is key---it is the best shortbread ever.

  19. staircase witch- we could have a bake off...jeans, tees, pearls, action.....butter..

  20. It sure didn't take long for Michael's bookplate to arrive!

    Bringing Home The Birkin has been getting rave reviews in Korea, where it has just been published.

    I envy you your time to bake.

  21. theduchessofH- The bookplate was very speedy and hooray for Michael...he has a gift with words and a superb way of hooking the reader which in my opinion is to the baking I set aside this time, many of the results are packaged up as gifts!