I had a request for the shortbread recipe in my previous blog, so here it is for your cooking and eating pleasure!
3/4 cup softened butter (PLEASE don't use margarine; it really does need to be butter)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 cup flour
Cream the butter first for a minute or so - this makes a softer, more melt-in-your-mouth cookie. Mix the dry ingredients together and then add, a tablespoon at a time, into the butter. I use my stand mixer on low, but you can also mix it by hand with a wooden spoon if you want to get rid of holiday flab before it hits you! Don't over mix if you are using a mixer - the dough should still have a few crumbs that didn't incorporate. That's okay.
Dump the dough, crumbs and all, onto a lightly floured counter top or pastry cloth and knead very gently a few times to mix the remaining crumbs in. Form into a circle and roll out to about 1/4" thick. Cut out your favourite shapes and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment. If you don't have parchment, just put them on ungreased cookie sheets. Reroll the scraps and continue cutting out shapes until there is no dough left. Not to worry - it will not cause the cookies to be tough doing this. Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes or until the edges are JUST barely golden. I have found they are not as buttery if they get too golden. They should be very white when taken out of the oven.
Place the cookies carefully onto cooling racks. They are very fragile while hot and fall apart at the drop of a hat! Let them cool and then decorate to your heart's content! Store them in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 4 weeks, but I really doubt they will last that long! They can be frozen and then removed from the freezer a day or two before they are required to let the flavour develop before serving.
I hope you enjoy these wonderful cookies as much as my family does! (By the way, the dough is so delicious raw!! Probably explains why I barely get two dozen cookies from one batch!)