I usually bake shortbread for Christmas. It is something I used to do for Christmas with mum. When I was younger we had a sheltie named Ariel who had a passion for shortbread – he used to get terribly excited when we put the pounds of butter on the counter to warm before making it at Christmas. (He also loved raisins and had to have a few before bedtime.) And I’ve been through other shortbread traditions as well. When I lived in Montreal, my friend Leslie and I would make huge numbers of shortbread cookies one day every December when we both lived there – bells, santas, holly, stars, angels and dinosaurs. This year I’ve done two versions – a cheater version which was I baked up a bunch I had in the freezer that I bought for a fund raising event (frozen cookies that you bake) – the other based on a friend of a friend’s recipe that I got a sample of at work. These are really cookie bars and easy to make. The first batch I made is almost gone so I will have to do another batch this week.
White chocolate cranberry shortbread
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter
3/4 c icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c dried canberries, chopped
1/2 c white chocolate chips
icing sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs the ends.
In a large bowl, combine flour with corn starch and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the butter with the icing sugar and vanilla until very creamy. Stir in the flour mixture, cranberries and chocolate chips. Pat evenly into the baking pan, using floured fingers or a spoon. Prick the surface all over, using a fork (Note – I couldn’t do this with my batch – it was too flaky but the shortbread still worked)
Bake in at 300 deg F for 40 - 50 minutes or until golden around edges. Leave to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes before lifting out of the pan. Slice into bars while still warm. Dust with icing sugar (optional).