Linda’s Shortbread Bars Recipe

One of our favorite childhood Christmas traditions was enjoying the delicious and beautiful shortbread cookies my Mom made. She would put the light dough through a star-shaped cookie press and add a tiny piece of maraschino cherry in the center of those beautiful stars.

I set about coming up with a version of Mom’s recipe that was faster to put together without sacrificing the flavor and delicious aroma while it baked and this food processor “bar” version is the result. These bars aren’t as meltingly light as Mom’s cookies but they are delicious.

It’s important to measure the flour correctly as you would when making bread. Fluff the flour first then spoon lightly into the measuring cup and sweep off the excess. If you scoop from the flour bin, you will get too much and the shortbread will taste too floury.

When the shortbread comes out of the oven and while it is still hot, use a sharp knife to cut the shortbread into bars or squares. I use my cooling rack held in place on top of the baking pan as a guide to get straight lines. The shortbread is very rich so I cut mine into about 1 1/2-inch pieces.

I hope you enjoy this Christmas treat!

Linda Farmer's Food Processor Shortbread Bars

Linda Farmer’s Food Processor Shortbread Bars

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cornstarch (cornflour)

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup craisins and zest of half an orange (entirely optional, but my favorite and colorful version)

1 cup butter, melted (2 sticks) (To melt in the microwave: cut into pieces, place in a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup and place the wrapper on top to contain splatter. Cook on HI for 1 minute.)

1 tsp vanilla

1-2 tsp granulated white sugar for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Place flour, cornstarch and brown sugar in food processor workbowl. Process until well combined.
  3. If you’re making my favorite Cranberry-Orange version, grate the orange zest into the workbowl.
  4. Put the Craisins into a small bowl and separate so they aren’t in clumps; toss with about 1 tsp flour just to coat. Add them to the workbowl.
  5. When butter is melted, add the vanilla and stir to combine.
  6. Turn on the processor and gently pour the melted butter/vanilla mixture through the feed-tube.
  7. Process just until the dough holds together.
  8. Turn dough into an ungreased 8-inch square pan and gently press into an even layer with a spatula. Don’t worry about making it smooth, it will come together as it bakes.
  9. Bake for about 50 minutes until golden, taking care corners do not burn.
  10. Place on a cooling rack and while still hot use a sharp knife to cut into squares or bars.
  11. Prick the top of each piece lightly with a fork then sprinkle very lightly with granulated sugar.
  12. Allow to cool, then remove from the pan and store in an air-tight tin. Can be frozen.

 

 

Linda’s Stilton Cheese Spread Recipe

This festive cheese spread is simple to make and absolutely addictive. It has been a popular and consistent guest at our Christmas celebrations for many years. If you are so inclined you can garnish with chopped fresh herbs, but I never do.

Serve with Carr’s or your favorite neutral cracker, or on baguette – fresh or toasted. Grapes are a delicious accompaniment. If you have any spread left you can even top a freshly-cooked steak and it will melt into a deliciously decadent sauce.

Below I give directions for two versions. The first is made by hand and yields a lovely spread with chunks of Stilton throughout. The second is made in the food processor and yields a very smooth, homogenized spread. I like the handmade one with some texture.

Yummy English Stilton

Linda Farmer’s Stilton Cheese Spread

8 oz cream cheese

8 oz butter, either salted or unsalted

8 oz English Stilton cheese (Italian Gorgonzola or other good quality blue will also work but Stilton rules)

Hand-made, Chunky Version

  1. Place the cream cheese and the butter in a large bowl and allow to come to room temperature.
  2. Place the Stilton in a shallow dish or glass pie plate and use a sharp knife to cut it into pieces about 1/2-inch square.
  3. When all ingredients have softened and come to room temperature, mash the cream cheese and butter together with a fork until well blended.
  4. Add the Stilton and mash it into the blended mixture leaving some lumps for texture and taste.
  5. Scoop into attractive serving dishes, such as pottery ramekins.
  6. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill at least 24 hours to ripen.

Food Processor, Smooth Version

  1. Bring all ingredients to room temperature.
  2. Cut the cream cheese into chunks, place in the processor workbowl and pulse-chop until smooth.
  3. Cut the butter into chunks and add to the cream cheese; pulse-chop until smooth.
  4. Cut the Stilton into chunks and add to the workbowl.
  5. Pulse-chop and then process until smooth.
  6. Scoop into attractive serving dishes, such as pottery ramekins.
  7. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill at least 24 hours to ripen.

English Stilton Spread in pottery ramekins

 

Simple creative seasonal crafts and ornaments

Printable nativity set from Marloes de Vries, a designer and illustrator from the Netherlands

Lately I’ve enjoyed finding so many wonderful and simple tutorials online for holiday crafts and ornaments. These don’t really fit with my TanglePatterns.com site, but everyone there is very “crafty” in the best possible sort of way so I thought I’d share my discoveries over here with you all.

Continue reading Simple creative seasonal crafts and ornaments

Zentangle your name

Zentangle tile with "Linda" tangle patterns

Recently CZT® Laura Harms started a fun weekly Zentangle® challenge and it’s open to everyone to participate. Here’s my own challenge for you: tangle your name and here’s how …

Continue reading Zentangle your name

Flash mob Christmas surprise!

One minute, Stephanie Tritchew was just a face in the busy Seaway Mall crowd, sipping coffee at a cafeteria table and chatting on her cellphone. The next, the St. Catharines native was standing and belting out “hallelujahs” from the famed chorus in Handel’s Messiah in front of a stunned food court congregation.

Continue reading Flash mob Christmas surprise!

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