How you doin’? If you have been homeschooling and babysitting your kids all day every day it probably seems like the pandemic will never come to an end.
Yes, you love them. You often felt guilty before that you weren’t spending enough time with your kids and now you realize, absence makes the heart grow fonder. It’s tough being a teacher, entertainer-in-chief and mom or dad all at the same time. So maybe it’s time to do a craft or baking project as a change of pace.
Let me offer you the simplest starter baking recipe project (along with a brief history lesson), which I know is suitable for all ages for both cooking and eating. Take notes—there will be a pop quiz shortly.
First, for the history lesson… Shortbread evolved from a medieval biscuit bread into a buttery cookie. Some versions are rustic, some are quite elegant. Shortbread may have been made as early as the 12th century, but its invention (or at least, the refinement to its current form) is often attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587) in the 16th century. She had a team of French chefs who had the time, labor and ingredients to perfect the recipes.
Shortbread recipes first appear in cookbooks of the time, although origination often precedes the first reference in print by a significant number of years. Alas, Queen Mary didn’t enjoy her shortbread with tea before her head was separated from her body, nor did her cousin Queen Elizabeth I [1533-1603]—tea didn’t arrive in England until September of 1658. It may be difficult for us to imagine a world without a comforting hot cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
Why “Short” Bread? There are two different explanations for the name of this cookie. Some sources cite the crumbly or “short” texture of the biscuit. Others attribute the name to its high percentage of shortening, or butter (the word “shortening” refers to any fat). Butteriness is an important quality in shortbread—so much so that in 1921 the British government legislated that a product called shortbread must get at least 51% of its fat from real butter.
This is the most basic cookie recipe there is. There are only three ingredients—real butter and brown sugar give it an irresistible flavor and all-purpose flour gives it the signature texture (the extracts are optional). Quick preparation and baking time will give you and your kids a quick reward.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 20 to 25 minutes
Yield: about 48 “biscuits” (24 servings)
2 cups salted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
ChefSecret: Use a low-water content, European-style butter—I prefer Plugra for best results. The secret to Plugra European-Style Butter is a slow churn process that creates less moisture and a creamier texture when compared to ordinary American table butters. This secret becomes yours for higher, fluffier cakes, flakier pastries, unbelievably creamy sauces, rich enviable risottos, sizzling sautés and extraordinary flavored compound butters.
#Dessert #Shortbread #KidsBaking #PerspectivesTheConsultingGroup #QuarantineKitchen #Covid19
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