Let the baking extravaganza begin!!!

All ready to begin!

All ready to begin!

Today was the first day of my Christmas Holiday! With my last exam behind me, and my spanish class nearly complete I kicked off the holidays with pizza and beer with friends last night. After a not-so-restful sleep (I’m secretly a grandmother making staying up until midnight tough), I headed over to Keith’s parent’s place for Pie Crust – 101.

Nancy, Keith’s mum, is a genius cook. Before moving to Toronto we would go over almost every Sunday night to feast. And every time we would come home too full. But it was impossible not to keep eating all of her delicious food. Lucky for us, we usually came home with a fridge full of leftovers!

One of the keys to pie crust is getting your hands dirty...

One of the keys to pie crust is getting your hands dirty…

Now I think I’ve said this before, but pie crust isn’t my specialty. I usually can barely get a crust that can actually make it to the pan because it just falls apart on the counter. But Nancy is incredible at pie crusts, so a few months ago I requested a tutorial upon her return to Calgary. This morning was it! Ten pie crusts later I think I at least have the hang of it!

This afternoon I made two types of cookies: Scor Shortbreads and Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints. And already I’ve had a fail. Harumph. Keith got home from work right as the second batch of thumbprints came out of the oven. In the spirit of quality control we shared one…and it was burnt. ARG! I just did exactly what the recipe called for and it burnt the cookies. And I didn’t even think to test one after the first batch, so the second batch was also burned. Hopefully that will be my one and only fail this season! And the lesson? Forget the recipe! Ha, just kidding, don’t completely forget the recipe. But I often get given grief because of the ‘creative license’ that I take when cooking and baking, and seeing as I followed this one to a T, I will take it as a sign to let my creative juices flooooooow!

Scor Shortbreads

1 cup flour
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup scor bits

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a electric mixer with the paddle attachment beat the butter until smooth. Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a small separate bowl. Dump into the butter and beat on low. It will likely become sort of grainy. Add the vanilla and see if it starts to clump together. I beat mine for quite a while to get it to come together and added about a tbsp of water. Add the scor bits and mix until combined. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and, using your fingers, press it into the pan spreading to all corners. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and use the parchment to take it out and place on a cooling rack. After about 15 minutes, place on a cutting board and slice. I used a long sharp knife and just applied pressure along the whole row (I think it made about 36). Put the pieces back onto the rack to cool completely.

For the record, this is loosely based on a pecan shortbread recipe from Martha Stewart but I took so much creative license that they can’t really be considered that recipe…and they are great! Creative license every time from now on!

Short breads and (burnt) thumb prints. I will be redoing the thumb prints another day!

Short breads and (burnt) thumb prints. I will be redoing the thumb prints another day!

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