If your schedule is like mine at this time of the year, finding any free time is a blessing. Cookie exchanges are events that I have the best intentions about when scheduled in November but the realities of mid December send me running to things that can be quicker and easier to produce than cookies and still be a tasty treat.
This is one such option, A layer of shortbread and a topping of nuts and cherries. Yes, there is more than one step but soooo much quicker than rolling out and decorating dozens of cookies.
Doubling this recipe can give you 4 dozen pieces in a 9 x 13 pan. The recipe itself has been in our family from at least my grandmother’s time and is a Christmas staple.
You will need:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp. icing sugar
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 chopped glace cherries
Take a deep breath, find your centre and welcome the Gods and Goddesses of the hearth from the path you walk. “In my kitchen filled with care, I welcome, Water, Earth Fire, Air“.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Measure ingredients, the flour and icing sugar, and add to the 8×8 pan.
I put this directly in the baking pan but it is also possible to mix in a bowl and then to transfer to your baking pan.
Pat the mixture to the edges of an 8 x 8 pan and ensure it is flat across the bottom.
Place in the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 8 – 10 minutes.
Remove and add filling.
As the bottom bakes, mix all the remaining ingredients together. The mixture will become sticky as the egg mixes into the dry ingredients.
Take the baking pan out of the oven. Spoon or pour the contents of the filling on top and smooth out evenly over the shortbread layer.
Reduce the oven to 300 degrees and return the pan to the oven for 30 minutes. A little longer if doubling the recipe.
Store in an airtight container. I prefer to store larger sections and cut as needed. This will help keep the squares fresh and soft.
Draw a line through “baking for ….” on your ‘to do’ list and put the kettle on before starting the next item.
Ultimately being busy all the time is a disservice. We are human beings not human doings.
Enjoy the sense of satisfaction in the accomplishment and celebrate (even if it is just a cup of something and a few deep breaths) before moving on.
Cherry Dream Cake from My Kitchen Wand
Update: Greetings from our 3rd annual cookie exchange! ( I have been advised, cookies only next year! )