Hi, Hey There, Hello!
I come to you today with a quick and buttery recipe bringing a bit of temporary sugary happiness to take your mind away from the out of control randomness that is freelancer life.
I’ve been having some problems with my business lately, and when life gets out of control, it helps me calm down when I focus on goals that I can accomplish quickly and have a well defined beginning, middle, and end. That usually translates into baking, which has the added bonus of leaving me with 20 or more tiny sugary trophies to celebrate accomplishing my task.
If you need a quick homemade pick me up or if you just happen to appreciate the joy of buttery Scottish treats , then this recipe is FOR YOU!
The Short-bread of Long Desperation
A recipe to provide transient comfort in your time of need. It guarantees 20 minutes of escape from troubled freelance reality while you try to figure out what the fudge 300g is in oz. You’re welcome.
Makes: 36 biscuits (12 of each flavor)
Preparation: 15 min if you know what you’re doing; around 30 min if you’re going to be fumbling about looking for where you saw the vanilla last (like me).
Baking time: 15 min
VERY IMPORTANT REMINDER: If you’re using cups as measurement, remember to use the same cup to measure all ingredients, so the recipe proportions will remain correct!
250g softened butter (if you want to be picky about it, use unsalted butter. If you’re just a person trying to get through a tough year, use whatever butter you have on hand)
100g brown sugar (I like brown sugar because it’s less sweet, and legend says it is “healthier”, but you can use caster sugar or whatever sugar you like best)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp cacao powder
Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon.
Add the vanilla extract to the mixture and mix until it’s all even. Don’t let your tears fall into the bowl, that’s extra salt you wouldn’t want in there.
Add the flour and stir with the spoon until you have a crumbly dough.
Divide this dough into 3 roughly equal parts. Mix the cinnamon to one of the thirds, and the cacao to another. You can use your hands to knead the dough and incorporate the new ingredients until all doughs are even (this is a good time to work out your frustration on an inanimate object in stead of the destruction you cause when throwing stuff around against walls). But legend has it that you shouldn’t be working the gluten in the shortbread dough too much so, if you have the time and patience to spare, mix in the new ingredients with the wooden spoon as well.
Divide each dough in 12 “equal” sized little balls, squash them, and place the little disks on the baking trays. If you are the picky baker using unsalted butter, maybe you will want to roll out your dough on a clean surface, and use a round glass or special shaped cutter to cut out perfectly round shortbreads. If you’re just a desperately unemployed artist in need of some home baked sweet comfort, and the prospect of cleaning a whole surface twice (before and after spreading food on it) terrifies you, than you can just use your hands to roll the dough into little balls and squash them. That’s what I did, and I’m still alive.
Place the trays with the biscuits in the fridge for 15-20 min. While they refrigerate, preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F).
Bake the shortbreads in the oven for 15-20 min. After 15 min, check if the borders of the biscuits are slightly golden. If yes, you can take them out. If not, leave it for the remaining 5 min. (It can be hard to tell with the cacao biscuits, but I’m sure you’ll find a way)
Feel the accomplishment of having completed a whole task and reward yourself with 36 buttery biscuits. Enjoy this feeling. It won’t last.