Easy, quick, great tasting and festive looking .. all the words we want to hear at this time of year.
I like to use berry sugar...which is just finer granulated sugar. My choice is also half and half rice and all purpose flour.
This works so well and quickly with a wooden spoon it is not worth messing your mixer up... besides...you can feel the consistency better by hand.
Work flour into the butter mixture with the back of the wooden spoon... and scrape the sides of the bowl to incorporate any smeared butter and also the flour.... keep working the flour in until you can press a knuckle into the dough and it does not feel really sticky... your knuckle should be almost clean.
Little balls of dough about the size of a teaspoon.. gently shape or press a bit.. just so you don't have sharp, thin edges. They tend to brown too quickly.
Aww ...look all Martha Stewart.... lol....oops...but there is wrapping paper on my table tsk, tsk...that will never do! She would be horrified.
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar (fruit, icing or brown)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla & a little drop almond flavouring
2 1/4 cups sifted pastry flour or
2 cups sifted all purpose flour ...or...
1/2 and 1/2 rice flour and all purpose
drained maraschino cherries cut into 1/3 or 1/4
Use a wooden spoon to cream the butter; add sugar gradually and cream together thoroughly. Add egg yolk and cream again, then add vanilla and almond flavouring. Cream some more.
Add flour slowly until a soft but not sticky dough is formed. If it starts to get too stiff you may not need the last teaspoon or so of flour.
If using an older cookie sheet place a piece of parchment paper to protect from sticking or browning... you don't want to brown shortbread. Place by teaspoonfuls on baking sheet..or make small balls and gently press down or shape a bit.
Drain some maraschino cherries (pat with paper towel) and cut into 1/3 or 1/4 pieces and place a tiny piece on each cookie. Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes.... don't leave the kitchen! Check them at about 8 minutes to make sure they are not browning... this is a lot of butter and sugar...and it will happen quickly when it begins. You want them very pale.
If you have made them small enough you will get 36 or more easily..if you make them a bit larger as I tend to do on the first few batches...you will only get about 34 or 32. However, this is such an easy recipe..you can try another one right away to get the sizes right. ...or just for a few more to munch... When they are still warm...they just melt in your mouth.
Lift off baking sheet while still warm but be gentle as they are a bit fragile when still warm. I use a thin metal spatula. Cool on wire rack.
There are many ways to package baking for easy and beautiful gifting. Little tins, containers and even gift bags... use a second colour of tissue under some basket saran ... you could even join the handles with a bit of raffia or a ribbon ...
Little saran bags.... with a ribbon..... or gold twist tie.
Speaking of gifting..... what about your favourite baker? You know what they want? Well, a few years ago.... I thought that when I finally got my stainless steel measuring cup set ... I would have arrived!
... and .... I also always wanted a set of measuring spoons .... stainless of course. I just love how smooth the indent feels when I run my fingers over it.... I know I must be weird or something.... but I love my spoons.
And...even this... a little one cup Pyrex measuring cup. You know... I still think they are a great gift for a cook. You need several ... and several sizes to boot. If you cook or bake... you just need them all the time. Measuring things of course...but I also use them for mixing a quick vinaigrette... flour to water for stews or gravies... pouring things into...pouring things out of... standing forks or spoons in... etc... they really are just soooo useful. If you are stuck what to buy for me...another one please.