Sunday, November 8, 2009

Spreading a little joy

The supermarkets and stores are full of Christmas things already. Well, they have been for over a month already, but contrary to other years, they are certainly not filled to the brim. Tiny displays and the odd stack of cookie tins and crackers. Must be the credit crunch!

Try as I may, I still struggle not to get exited about all the tinsel and kitch. Christmas is in the air, summer is finally here and the days have that lingering quality. I adore this time of year and associate the supermarket displays with summer holidays, watermelon feasts next to the pool and cookies.

It was a tradition in our family to bake lots and lots of cookies for the holidays, to be devoured whenever the craving struck (often). We all measured, stirred, creamed and rolled for hours and hours to fill the tins with all sorts of favourites. A holiday production line filled with smiles and laughter. It sounds a little cheesy, I know, but these are some of my happiest memories.

I wanted share a little bit of that joy and decided to bake some shortbread to give to friends. No reason in particular. Or maybe, it was just an excuse to fill the kitchen with the aroma of cookies in the oven. Mmmm, enjoy!

Blue Berry Shortbread Bars
260 g plain cake flour
45 g castor sugar
25 g cornflour
250 g butter (slightly softened)
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
100 g blueberries
Preheat the oven to 160 °C. Lightly grease a small (25x20) baking tin. Place all the ingredients, except the blueberries in a food processor and blend until the mixture forms a soft ball. Press the dough into the baking tray and gently even out with an offset spatula. Prick with a fork and make indentations in the dough, using the back of a wooden spoon. Place a blueberry into each. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the sides tinge brown. Remove from the oven and slice into bars with a sharp knife while still hot. Leave to cool in the tin for just a short while and then place on a cooling rack.