Or hang stockings on our mantle.
We don't listen to Christmas music.
Or decorate with twinkly lights outside.
Because my parents and in-laws have the Christmas scene covered. Their homes are winter wonderlands...made even more fitting by a dusting of Colorado snow.
But we do string popcorn across a collection of tree branches in our living room. We make Christmas cards, and we love to shop for those perfect gifts.
And of course, my friends, we bake. We bake and laugh and share evenings with friends and family.
The holiday season is my favorite time of year.
I also want to share a few of my favorite artists for those that are looking for Christmas ideas/inspiration.
Little Things Studio--delightful quotes and prints
Take Heart (a precious store if you live in Austin)
Girls Can Tell--diagrams of all sorts of household objects on towels, coasters, ect...
Lisa Chow--adorable prints and paintings brimming with old buildings, teacups, and hearts
Let me know if you have any go-to favorites for your gift-buying. Ryan and I love to buy local and to support artists who are making things outside of the Walmart/Target/Shopping Mall arenas.
But you're likely here for cookies...so let me get back to these simple holiday staples--classic shortbread. Perfect with a cup of tea or a mug of hot cocoa, these shortbread cookies swell with the flavors of butter and vanilla. They can be dipped in a bath of warm chocolate or enjoyed all on their own.
Shortbread stores well, ships well, and tastes...well, they taste pretty fantastic.
12 oz (1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
15 oz (3-1/3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 TBSP cornstarch
1 tsp table salt
5-3/8 oz (1-1/3 cups) confectioners’ sugar
1 TBSP pure vanilla extract or paste
1 6 oz chocolate bar (good quality, dark)
1 tsp canola oil
1. With parchment paper, line the bottom of a straight-sided 9x13-inch baking pan. Grease the parchment paper and the sides.
2. Combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until the dough begins to form moist clumps, about 1 minute.
3. Turn the dough out into the prepared pan. Using lightly floured fingertips, press the dough into the pan(s) to form an even layer. If needed, use a glass to press the dough evenly in pan.
4. Refrigerate pan of dough for 15 minutes.
5. Use a bench knife or a paring knife to cut the dough all the way through into 40 bars. With the tines of a fork, prick each bar twice all the way through, spacing the holes evenly and on the diagonal. Lightly flour the tines as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking.
6. Place pan of dough in freezer while preheating oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Bake the dough, rotating the pan halfway through, until the top looks dry and golden-brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack. Using a paring knife or bench knife, immediately re-cut the cookies along the lines. Cool completely before removing them from the pan.
8. Melt chocolate and oil in a double burner, or in the microwave, using a spoon to stir. Once smooth, dip ends of shortbread into chocolate and allow to dry and set on a wired rack (setting takes about 45 minutes). This makes enough chocolate for about half of the shortbread cookies. If you would like to dip all shortbread cookies in chocolate, double chocolate and oil amount.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores
PS. Where are you shopping this holiday season?