Cheryl Angst, Writer

Writer of strange tales – because no one ever accused me of being normal.

Almond Shortbread December 21, 2011

Filed under: Baking — Cheryl Angst @ 8:55 pm
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The third batch of baking this year is a genuine family tradition. My girls are the fourth generation (all on the maternal side) to help with the baking and sugaring of the cookies. Almond shortbread is such a key element of my family’s Christmas baking that I swear Christmas wouldn’t arrive without them.

I warn you, the crescents are to die for. I will also warn you, they are a lot of work. This recipe is not for the faint of heart.


1 lb butter

1 cup granulated sugar

4 cups flour

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups ground almonds


Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla.

Add the flour in small batches.

When all the flour is blended, add the ground almonds. I find this recipe works best if you take whole blanched almonds and toast them slightly before grinding.

Roll out the dough to roughly 1/8 inch thickness and cut into crescents.

Bake at 350 for 10-14 minutes (depending on your cookie sheet and oven). Shortbread shouldn’t be brown, so as soon as the tips of the crescents start to darken it’s time to pull the cookies from the oven.

Let the cookies firm up on the sheet for approximately 4 minutes then carefully lift them into a container suitable for sugaring.

Once the cookies have been sugared, allow them to cool fully on a wire rack.

We’ve learned from experience not to put one cookie tray into the oven immediately following the removal of the first. It takes time to sugar the cookies without breaking them, and if you put the next tray in it’ll be coming out before you have the first tray sugared.

Oh, by the way, this recipe makes about 8 dozen cookies…

Nom nom nom.



Butter Tarts (Ooey Gooey) December 20, 2011

Filed under: Baking — Cheryl Angst @ 9:57 pm
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Now that the urge to experiment has largely passed, it is time to return to more traditional baking. Yesterday’s fare was a family Christmas staple: the butter tart.

Now before you get all excited about them, I need to confess something. I didn’t make the pastry from scratch this year. I cheated and bought frozen tart shells. If you cheat too you’ll find these treats ridiculously easy to make. (Especially if you have little hands who can count out raisins to put in each shell…)

If you’re the type who likes to bake pastry from scratch I’m sure you already have a dandy recipe and certainly aren’t lurking around my blog to learn how to do it. If you aren’t one of those people, then you likely plan on cheating like I did and don’t need a pastry recipe either. ;-)

Let’s get to the point now, shall we?

The filling… ooooo, the ooey gooey filling!

(The quantities below make enough filling for 12 regular tarts or roughly 24 small ones.)

1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/4 cup melted butter

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 mL salt

3/4 cup raisins

Combine all the ingredients except for the raisins.

Place the raisins in the bottom of the tart shells (I find 10-12 is good for regular tarts, and 6 is great for the small ones).

Fill each shell 2/3 full with the syrup mixture. Don’t over fill or it will bubble up and ooze all over your baking sheet or oven!

Bake at 425 (on the bottom rack) for 12-15 minutes or until just set.

Don’t over bake (under baking makes them runnier).

Trust me, you want them to ooze.





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