Christmas snuck up on me again this year. Despite feeling organized going into the holiday season, the house is in chaos and we leave for the trip back to our hometown tomorrow evening. But, I’m just going with it. It is all those last-minute get-togethers that have thrown off my schedule. Those invites for (a quick) drink, the running out for a gift or cheese for a last-minute appetizer. The unexpected moments that add joy to the season and enrich my life. This time spent with loved ones is well worth the subsequent late nights leading up to the holiday (in my case, that would be late nights in the kitchen, baking cookies and then assembling trays and boxes so... I am not complaining). Balance is achieved after Christmas as we head into the New Year. Hours of sleep lost can be regained in January unless, you have young children or a new puppy. Stress can be reduced with a walk in the brisk and snowy cold.
Despite everything, I find myself making the time to watch my two favourite Christmas movies. Love, Actually gets me into the holiday season so I like to watch it at the beginning of December (“to me, you are perfect”… oh sigh!). And, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation adds the comedic touch and laughter that we all need right now. All families are different and the stress of spending lots of time together can be a little overwhelming to say the least. As I grow older, I do identify more with Ellen Griswold... ;)
What are you favourite movies? Do you like the sentimental, teary ones, the classics or the comedies? I would love to hear about them in the comments below. Until then, whip up this shortbread recipe to add to your holiday cookie tray.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread
Makes: 16-20 squares
Time: Prep (20 minutes) + Resting time (2 hours) + Shaping and Baking time (30 minutes)
2/3 cup (150 g) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup (85 g) peanut butter
⅔ cup (75 g) icing sugar
1 1/2 cups (188 g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (75 g) rice flour
¼ tsp fine salt
¾ cup (130 g) mini chocolate chips
1. Beat the butter and peanut butter together in a large bowl using a hand mixer. Sift the icing sugar and add to the butters. Sift the flours and salt and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate chip and mix using a spatula or by hand. The dough will feel a little dry. In my experience, a little dryness for shortbread cookies is a good thing as it makes them more light and buttery when baked.
2. Put the dough in an extra-large freezer bag and leave it open. Flatten it with your hand and then shape into a square with ¼ inch (6-7 mm) thickness using a rolling pin. Turn the bag a quarter, roll and then repeat to help even out the dough surface. Ensure that there are no creases on the dough from the bag. Seal the bag and place on a flat surface in the refrigerator for 2 hour or up to 2 days. I put mine on a cookie sheet and then into the refrigerator to prevent cracking when moving it from surface to surface.
3. Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Carefully take the dough out of the refrigerator and place it on the work surface. Slit the sides of the bag. Cut into 1 ½ inch (4 cm) squares (I get out my measuring tap for this!). Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes rotating the sheet partway through baking to ensure even baking. The edges will be slightly browned. Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
You may also like: