28Jan23: sad kitty…

Andy’s sad because I’m not getting up and catering to his every whim. Sorry, kitty, but if I get up every time you want to get kitty treats, you’ll never eat your prescription chicken pâté kitty food. I noticed you are a little chunky lately, too, not a good thing in an older kitty. Those “puppy dog eyes” (sic) won’t work on me, bub!


I baked a cherry pie for yesterday’s Class of 1966 monthly luncheon. I still have flour and butter I got to make shortbread for the December luncheon. I really need to do it, make that shortbread, before the butter (which is in the freezer) goes bad. If I make it for myself, I know I’ll make a pig of myself on it.

My Scottish grandmother use to make it as a special treat for the family, with one half of it for my Dad since he really, really, really liked her shortbread. After she died, I found her hand-written recipe in a recipe book she had. I tried my hand at making it. It’s a simple recipe, just four, sugar, and butter.

The magic is in how thin or thick you press it into a baking pan, how long you bake it. The slightly burnt, well, “brown” edges are the best part since the sugar is caramelized there, and texture is important, too. Good shortbread is more like a thick pie crust, flakey, a light texture but with a bit of crunch.

Getting the proportions of the three components is important, too. My grandmother’s recipe is a bit heavy on sugar if you don’t convert the pounds into cups more conventionally used in American recipes. My first effort had twice as much sugar as needed! Whew! Bad guess on what a pound of sugar is converted to in cups…!

I adjusted the sugar by half and the result was “…as good as your Grandmother McKenzie’s shortbread”, per my Dad! He was the shortbread connoisseur. His word told me I’d cracked the code, figured out how to make it like a Scottish grandmother! Well, my Scottish Grandmother McKenzie at least. I can’t speak for the whole world of Scottish grandmothers. 

Shortbread looks pretty plain, sort of like crust without the pie. If you don’t know what it is, you might skip it when looking at the dessert selections at an event. (Mind you, as someone who knows what it is, I don’t might having to take most of it home! LOL!) A big mistake: good shortbread is made with the best quality butter, never margarine or something with “butter flavor” like commercial “shortbread” often tries to pass off as shortbread, and this simple product bursts with an oven-created brown butter flavor that turns three things into a crunchy delight.

You want to share that with others, but hope they pass when you put it out there among the ooey-gooey chocolate brownies with chocolate chips and chocolate frosting, sugar cookies with heaps of butter cream frosting and sprinkles, pecan pie with twice the recipe’s pecans and chocolate chips-because-why-not?, and the lemon bars made more lemony with the zest and juice of two Meyer lemons. Yeah, shortbread gets lost in that “forest”!

Embellish it with chocolate or pecans or lemon zest, and you get a nice variation, but it seems less authentic to me. My Grandmother McKenzie’s shortbread never had embellishments because it was special made with just the three ingredients. 

Yum! I think this weekend will be a good time to make that shortbread! It’s been a few years since I made it last – Dad died in 2008, and his enthusiasm for it was the main reason I made it. I hope I can recreate my success with it because I intend not to share it and the recipe makes a pig-satisfying amount of it. LOL! Maybe – like, sure! – I can keep some out and freeze the rest.

36 thoughts on “28Jan23: sad kitty…

    • It is impossible, Dolly. i doubt there are many recipes I could post since I tend to be a Toss what’s handy into the pot” sort of cook.

      • add:
        2 Sticks (1/2 pound salted butter, softened)
        1/2 cup sugar, blended with butter, then add and mix in
        2 cups All-Purpose Flour until you have a pie crust like texture, then
        press into baking dish or sheet where you can press it into sugar-cookie-thick layer. Pierce the dough all over with a fork and bake at 350 degrees F till golden brown. Before it cools, cut into whatever size pieces you want and leave in baking container till it cools completely before removing. After it cools, cutting it into pieces is difficult. You can also use this recipe to make short bread cookies, though I’ve never done it. I suppose using sugar cookie techniques would do the trick – you know, cooling the dough first – but I’m just guessing.

        The traditional recipe calls for caster sugar, which is just super-fine granulated sugar typically unavailable in the USA. You can make it with a strong blender, but the main benefit is a better blend with the butter. Regular granulated sugar works fine.

        I make a double recipe when I feel extravagant. LOL! Before I correctly converted the sugar amount, I made it with twice the needed amount. It was, well, “sweet”.
        Some recipes call for vanilla and/or almond flavor, but this is the traditional, simple version. I suppose the variations are meant to “improve” the traditional recipe, but the traditional recipe is more than good enough. This is a butter cookie, as it were, and butter should be the flavor that stands out.

        There are lots of recipes online, and the details of preparation and baking are there since mine are of the “pinch of this, dash of that” tradition. You can see and smell when it is baked sufficiently, for example.

        Note that the brown edges are the best part since there is that caramelized sugar taste. Don’t let the family know, and you can have all the “burnt” parts (just brown) for yourself. LOL!

  1. Your commentary on shortbread inspired my post this morning on family traditions. I think food traditions are the most enduring. I enjoyed your post lots. Too bad the kitty is so very unappreciative of how good he has it. but they often don’t see things our way.

    • How true that is! Andy, I’m sure, thinks he has a tough time of it.

      Family traditions are the glue that holds us together, eh?! I look forward to stopping by your post. I haven’t worked out how to comment on them yet and would have comment on many of them. Today might be the day!

      (I guess the woodcarving posts are the ones requiring signing in. I enjoyed your family traditions post and commented. I see one of the posts suggested at the end of my post today if for vegan shortbread. Faw! “Same as” always is a fantasy. Real shortbread always uses real dairy butter, not tome fake olive oil substitute!

  2. Andy has a very convincing sad face there, Doug! 🙂

    Cherry pie was a favorite of mine when I was little. I never tasted shortbread until I was an adult. My mother’s sister Vinnie was the best dessert maker from back then. We all got homemade fudge – three different kinds: chocolate, peanut butter and maple – and her famous wild grape jelly for Christmas every year.

    Shortbread seems a great way to celebrate your father’s life. Enjoy the special memories with every bite.

    • Any fruit pie is on my pie list! Gooseberry, when I have access to the fresh fruit, is one my Dad and I like(d). My Grandmother had a bush in her yard and treated us to gooseberry pie in season. My mother never liked it, so Dad and I got more of it. LOL! When I make apple pie, I always try to have at least three, four varieties in the mix. One variety apple pie is tasty – can’t miss! – but using multiple varieties adds complexity and interest as far as I’m concerned.

      My Dad made panuchi as his contribution to Christmas candie, and my mother made million dollar fudge, a recipe that Mamie Eisenhower allegedly used when she made it. (Cynical me! I always thought the Mamie Eisenhower connection was about as probable and Hillary Clinton’s cookies!) My mother also made a “Christmas relish” that was so good but never lasted all year. It wasn’t that different from other relish recipes so much as how she prepared the vegetables used. I’ve never been able to duplicate it.

  3. Cherry Pie! I’ll be right over, Doug! Kidding of course but that sounds so good. Andy really does look sad with those eyes but he has to wait for Doug. 👍🏻🐈

    • Me, too! I watch baking programs where a simple cupcake has as much frosting on it as the cupcake itself, and gag! Same with cookies.

    • Thanks! I have that problem with the recipes in my Scottish grandmother’s hand-written recipe book since she uses European measures and conventions. “Castor sugar” was a mystery for a long time, but Google came along and cleared it up. We call it “superfine sugar” and other things.

      1 Cup In Grams
      Online Unit Converter > Food Conversions > Cups To Grams > 1 Cup In Grams
      Do you want to know how much is 1 cup in grams? How many grams are in 1 cup? Convert 1 cup to grams (1 cup to g).

      Measuring 1 cup in grams is not as straightforward as you might think. Cups are a volume unit while grams are a mass unit. But even if there is no exact conversion rate converting 1 cup to grams, here you can find the conversions for the most searched for food items.

      How Many Grams Are In 1 Cup?
      1 cup water in grams is 240 grams.

      Please note that cups and grams are not interchangeable units. You need to know what you are converting in order to get the exact grams value for 1 cup. See this conversion table below for precise 1 cup to g conversion.

      Convert 1 Cup To Grams
      1 cup flour equals 125 grams.
      1 cup sugar equals 200 grams.
      1 cup butter equals 227 grams.
      1 cup milk equals 245 grams.
      1 cup water equals 240 grams.
      1 cup cocoa powder equals 100 grams.
      1 cup vegetable oil equals 221 grams.
      1 cup powdered sugar equals 120 grams.
      1 cup honey equals 340 grams.

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