Shortbread Cookies for Mom

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Drinking tea before bed is a time-honored tradition with the women in my family. As long as I can remember, my mom, aunts and grandmother always made a cup of Lipton‘s tea with a dash of milk – sometimes accompanied by a cookie. When my mom helped me move into my LA apartment, the first things she got at the grocery store were Lipton’s tea, milk and shortbread cookies. For this Mother’s Day, I thought I would make her some homemade shortbread cookies to enjoy with her nightly tea!

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INGREDIENTS:

3/4 Pound of Butter (Room Temperature)

1 Cup of Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

3 1/2 Cups of Flour

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

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Luckily for me, shortbread is relatively easy to bake and only requires 3 ingredients! This recipe is based on Ina Garten‘s shortbread cookie.  First mix the butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer.

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In a separate bowl,  sift together the flour and salt. Sifting flour brought back my most vivid memories of my grandmother, or Grammy as I like to call her. She was ALWAYS sifting flour, so I made sure not to skip this step, because who wants chunks of flour in their cookies? Thanks Grammy!

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Combine the flour and butter mixtures until it comes together as a dough. Kneed together and wrap tightly with Saran Wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

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Cover rolling pin and cutting board with flower, and roll out the dough until its about 3/4 inch thick.

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I picked out a cute little star cookie cutter for these cookies. I think making smaller cookies is best, because shortbread is quite rich as it’s packed with butter! Cut out the cookies and arrange on an un-greased cookie sheet. Greasing the cookie sheet causes the cookie to expand on the bottom, loosing their form. Since again, these cookies already have so much butter, they will pop right off the pan no greasing needed. They also don’t expand like other cookies while baking so you can fit a lot on your baking sheet without worry of overcrowding.

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Traditional shortbread cookies have little dots in the middle, so I took a fork and pricked three times in the center of each cookie and sprinkled the tops with a little extra sugar.

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Bake in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes until the edges start to brown. (Ina says 25 minutes, but I found this to be much too long for a smaller sized cookie)

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Since my mom lives in Sacramento, I found this adorable cookie tin and ribbon at the Container Store to send the shortbread in. I lined it with wax paper, piled in the cookies and wrapped it all up in a pink polka-dot bow.

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My mom is the inspiration for this blog. Even though she works countless hours as a pediatrician, she always makes time to tie the perfect bow, cook the best pot roast, throw unforgettable parties, arrange the pillows just right, and bake a three-tiered cake for my birthday no matter what. Her ability to balance her career and being a mom and homemaker so flawlessly is something I hope I can live up to. She is the epitome of style, class and poise and I’m lucky to have such an amazing role model. Happy Mother’s Day!

Banana Pound Cake

ImageI always buy too many bananas. My solution? Pound Cake. Once the bananas  turn brown I just throw them in the freezer. I think the process of freezing and defrosting the bananas really helps with the texture and flavor of the pound cake. They look pretty slimy but trust me it pays off! When I collect about six in the freezer it’s time to get baking.

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Ingredients:

6 Ripe Bananas (peeled and defrosted if frozen)

1 Cup of Butter (2 Sticks- room temperature)

2 Eggs

3/4 Cup Sugar

2 Cups Flour

1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

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Preheat the oven to 350. Beat together eggs, butter, vanilla extract and sugar until smooth. Mash up defrosted bananas and add to mixture.

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Slowly add dry ingredients, and be sure to combine everything evenly while being careful not to over mix. (this is true with all cake-like batter, over mixing results in a tough cake) ImageGrease a bread pan with Pam’s baking spray and pour in the batter.

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Bake in oven for an hour until it browns and puffs up. You can stick a toothpick in, and if it’s clean it’s all done.

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This is great served warm out of the oven for dessert or breakfast!  Enjoy!

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