I have a really hard time making something more than once. My mentality is more, been there, done that and on to the next thing. If I do make something again, I generally have to tweak at least one aspect (which then leads to over-hauling everything).
When people are expecting certain traditional foods (especially during the holidays), this usually does not go over too well. Even if the end product is better than the original, it does not matter because it is NOT the original. There is something about the nostalgia of childhood memories that trumps the here-and-now flavour of a new and improved version.
I have definitely learned this the hard way. What can I say, I’m stubborn. The thing is, holiday baking, really the holidays in general, are about doing things that make other people happy. Sometimes creativity and experimentation have to be set aside in the name of tradition. There is nothing creative or innovative about shortbread cookies. But there does not have to be. Seeing my mom’s reaction to these Canada cornstarch cookies, I know that they took her back to a moment in her childhood, sitting in my grammie’s kitchen eating shortbread during the holidays. To me, that is more important, more satisfying than boosting my own ego by inventing something new any day. That is what it is all about, making people happy through the food and memories that mean most to them. That is validating.
Canada Cornstarch Shortbread
Makes 35-40 cookies
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup icing sugar
2 cups flour
1 ½ cup butter
1. Sift together the cornstarch, icing sugar and flour. With a wooden spoon (or your hands) blend in the butter until it forms a smooth dough.
2. Portion the dough into balls. Place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and flatten each with a fork. You can also top them with candied cherries or nuts if you like.
3. Bake at 300F for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.
Cool and enjoy.