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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Scottish shortbread, made with my 1/4 Scottish hands

I was out running errands yesterday, and at one of the stores, they had individual packages of shortbread cookies for 99 cents. There were just 2 cookies in each package. I was so hungry at that moment. I nearly bought a package. This was my second to the last stop, so I knew I'd be home somewhat soon -- not a hunger emergency. But I'd also been craving shortbread for a couple of weeks. I had it on my to-bake list for a while. But just didn't get around to actually baking any.

Even though 99 cents is not a lot of money, it just seemed more than the shortbread was worth. After all, shortbread is easy to make. It only takes 3 ingredients, butter, sugar and flour. And I could whip some up in under an hour, if I could just make myself wait that long.

I did resist buying the shortbread. And when I got home, I did make a batch. You see, for that 99 cents, I could make enough shortbread for the whole family, plus some to tuck away in the freezer, for my next shortbread craving. Of course, there would be no nice, red plaid packaging. But I think I could live with that sacrifice.

I do sometimes buy little treats for myself. But I try to limit those treats to items that I can't easily make at home. Like croissants. I once did make croissants at home. But they were so time-consuming to make, that I didn't feel they were worth my time to make from scratch.

Of course, I had to cost out the batch of shortbread that I made, just to make myself feel better.

1 stick of butter -- 49 cents
1  1/4 cup of flour -- 13 cents
1/4 cup sugar -- 5 cents
oven usage -- 7 cents

The full cost to bake a batch of shortbread (24 pieces) -- 74 cents. Yep! That was worth it.


  1. I've never made shortbread, but I do like it. Maybe next time I make cookies, it will be short bread. What other treats do you buy besides croissants?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Shortbread is a good cookie to make when you're out of eggs. And it's easy.

      Other treats I will buy for myself -- black licorice and peppermint patties would be my favorites. While not a cheap peppermint patty, I love the ones from See's Candies. I can go into See's, buy one patty for under $1, and they'll give me a free sample of another chocolate. They're very generous with their samples. When we were in San Francisco, one day it started raining, so we ducked into See's to get dry for a moment, and the man gave each of us a chocolate, even though we told him we just needed to dry off. Very friendly and cheerful about the samples.

    2. I think we have the same taste buds, Lili, with black licorice and peppermint patties (Sees) being high on my list. Shortbread cookies are delicious. I've made them at the holidays and they are very popular with the family. Yours look great!

    3. Hi Mary,
      Too funny! And it's not like black licorice and peppermint are all around favorites with people! Must be something in the PNW air.
      have a great day!

    4. I don't like licorice, but I do love peppermint patties. When I was a kid, they were a special thing I made for everyone. I found a recipe in an old cookbook. I don't think they were as good as the "real" ones, but they were pretty good and I was proud of them.

    5. Hi live and learn,
      Making them would be a fun thing to do for a get-together or to give as gifts, as well as eating a few myself! Then I could put on a real thick coating of dark chocolate -- the best part of a peppermint patty!

  2. Tuck a granola bar into your purse or the glove box of the car for "emergencies." : ) WTG exercising restraint-we've all been there!

    1. Hi Carol,
      I actually had some sunflower seeds in my purse, but just didn't feel like eating them. So, I did know I wouldn't starve! LOL! I just really wanted that shortbread, and I knew it was more of a craving than real hunger. But, yes, packing snacks while on errands will save a lot of money.

  3. I was thinking the same thing as CTMOM...taking some snack bars with water when leaving the house. We sometimes kept a jar of peanuts in the car for those long drive home in traffic, on bad days it took almost 2 hours bumper to bumper.

    Your cookies look so delicious. Another way to look at it...f you were to price your gourmet cookies in the quantity made (at least $1 each cookie), I'm sure you have saved quite a bit, So definitely worth sacrificing that momentary hunger pang...good for you, Lili!!:)


    1. Hi YHF,
      Oh yes, bakery cookies would be expensive. With a bakery, you're paying for labor, mostly. And I don't mind the labor, it's rather fun (I'd rather bake than cook). So, for me, paying someone to do something that I would find pleasant to do, seems ridiculous. And these were delicious, better even than the red plaid famous ones, as they were freshly made.

  4. My dh w love these. Would you mind sharing the recipe? Cheryl

    1. Hi Cheryl,
      The recipe is so easy. I'll post it next week. It's one of my mom's old recipes.

  5. Those cookies look so yummy! I married into a Scottish family and have grown to love shortbread. My MIL's shortbread is really good. She uses rice flour. The cookies turn out tender, but still crisp. My daughter & I have tried making them ourselves, but they never turn out as well as hers. I suppose we'd better get it figured out so that the recipe doesn't disappear when she passes on. Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,
      With your MIL's recipe, the difference could be something you wouldn't think about, like which baking sheet she uses, or the temperature of the butter, or how much she works her dough to shape the cookies, or if her oven is calibrated like yours, so you're actually baking yours at the same temp as she does hers. I know you can figure this out -- good luck with it!

      I've never tried rice flour, but have tried cornstarch, and it does give it a melt in your mouth feel. The recipe I use of my mom's is of the more crispy variety.

    2. Hi Melissa,
      If it is not a family secret, could you please share the recipe using rice flour? I am trying to be gluten free...
      Jo Ann

    3. Jo Ann--
      My MIL just uses a little rice flour, the rest is wheat flour. She is now gluten/dairy free. She tried a couple of years ago to remake the recipe gluten/dairy free. It wasn't good. Even she admitted that. Maybe you'd be able to find a recipe online? Melissa

  6. I've never made shortbread. Maybe it's time to try! And I'm like you--baking (most of the time) is fun for me so why pay for something I enjoy making? I love it that you had sunflower seeds but they didn't match your craving for shortbread--good to know I'm not alone. Sometimes my carry-along snacks seem "meh" ...

    1. Hi Kris,
      The way I figure it is if I had been truly hungry, I would have eaten the sunflower seeds. So, I think it was more of an "oooh, shortbread, yum, yum -- gotta have some", than devastating hunger. I was just using the hunger excuse to try and talk myself into buying some! I can remember when my kids were little, we'd be out shopping, they'd see cookies or candy bars and claim to be "starving". I'd say, "great, I have some raisins for you". That would usually be met with sad faces.

  7. The short bread looks devine. I think maybe I can smell them
    through the computer screen. Good job on resisting temptation. I am not eating gluten or sugar right now so they sound extra good. I also have some Scottish heritage on
    my grandfathers side. That is fun to make something that your mom used to make.
    Have a great day.

    1. Hi Patti,
      You know what surprises me about my mom's old recipes, is how simple they all are. The list of ingredients is relatively short (compared to recipes I now find online), and usually things I already have on hand. Yes, it's nice to make those recipes that remind me of someone dear to me.

  8. Mmmm! Weirdly, I've been craving shortbread, too. My grandmother (parents came over from Scotland) used to make it for us as gifts and sometimes just because. She gave me a cookie cookbook I used to love looking at at her house as a child and wrote in her measurements next to shortbread recipe in the book. She's now been gone 16 years but I still think of her when I have or think of shortbread. Need to get that out and whip up a batch!

    1. Hi Cat,
      Cookbooks used to be such personal items for women, handed down, markings and adjustments hand-written in the book, and well-worn. Now, people own so many cookbooks that they just get donated to charity shops, sold at garage sales, and not really handed down to the next generation.

      I have a couple of my mother's and I love seeing her pencil markings in the margins. Just such a nice reminder of her, not just a photo when posed for the camera, but her real self, as recorded in these tiny notes on cooking.

      That's lovely that you have that special cookbook of your grandmother's.

  9. Ooh, they look delicious! I am looking forward to you posting the recipe too!


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