Christmas (2015) Food and Fun, and a Great Shortbread Recipe

Turkey!

Turkey!

Happy New Year! Christmas flew by, and I barely talked about food at all. I’ve been so distracted working on my first gaming video the writing side of things has fallen by the wayside. But fear not! I am back in business. I did a reasonable amount of cooking this year, though the dessert was not as ambitious as the Charlotte Royale of last Christmas. In the days leading up to the main event, I had been clearing out Newforge Studios HQ, and trying to restore order. Consequently, I had barely spent any time thinking about what to make for dinner. I ended up picking a few dishes out of a cooking magazine, and a few from other sources. Mum was captivated by the idea of a black forest roulade, so that became the Christmas dessert of choice, even though nothing had been prepared in advance. This is never ideal, as I had finished the Charlotte Royale by Christmas Eve, but it would have to do. Dinner wasn’t till much later this Christmas, so there was plenty of time to put together a showstopper of some sort.

Black Forest Roulade/Flatlade (it was never rolled)

Black Forest Roulade/Flatlade (it was never rolled)

In the process of clearing out my room, I stumbled across my recipe books from Lurgan Junior High. This was incredible! I had been looking for it for a long time for one recipe in particular. Over ten years ago, I made the best shortbread I had ever eaten, and none of our subsequent batches could live up to that first time. But tragically, the recipe book was lost in the general mess that was my room. Finding it again opened up a whole new world of shortbread experimentation. This recipe was bulletproof, and never failed to produce results. Sure, the cooking time required some adjustment, but the quantities were perfect. I started off with a small batch, then doubled the quantity with equal success. I love shortbread, and now I had access to the perfect recipe and a potentially unlimited source. These are exciting times, folks.

The shortbread! Well, before cooking

The shortbread! Well, before cooking

Perfect Shortbread

100 g butter (you can use margarine, but please, don’t be lame)
50 g caster sugar
150 g plain flour

Makes an amount of shortbread. How much you ask? Dammit, I’m a medical student, not a celebrity chef!

  1. Preheat oven to 160 C (140 C fan), Gas mark 6.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Use an electric mixer if you’ve got one to hand (if not, get one! It will greatly enhance your life).
  3. Sift flour into butter and sugar, and combine. Once combined, knead into a ball. If the dough is too soft at this stage, wrap in clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for 15 minutes (or however long you can be bothered) to firm up.
  4. Roll out dough into a round the thickness of a jam jar lid (about 1/2 cm), or into a rectangle if you want to make shortbread fingers. Cut into pieces, and place on a greased baking tray.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown (times will differ between ovens, and sizes of pieces). Sprinkle with caster sugar and leave to cool in the baking tin. They will be soft straight out of the oven, and firm up while they cool.

 

I don’t have any decent photos of the finished shortbread, but I assure you, it looks like shortbread. It tastes great too, and keeps for at least a week in a sealed container, though I don’t guarantee it will last that long. It will have been eaten way before it goes soft. Either that, or you’re a monster. What kind of human could resist homemade shortbread?!

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