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this little light…..& shortbread cookies

for those of us who live north of the equator, we’re only 4  days from the darkest day of the year. But for many among us, it felt as though last Friday must surely have been that day.

. . .

in this hurting world

don’t think that for one moment

your light goes unnoticed.

don’t think for an instant that your light,

just now, is too dim to shine for anyone.

. . .

don’t believe that what we face

is either too big or too complicated,

or that our little light

is powerless

in the creeping shadow of it.

. . .

in this hurting world, the one thing,

the one thing, we can each do

is let our own light shine.

whatever shape or brilliance your candle,

it is exactly what the world needs…

this shimmering little light

that is yours alone

to share.

___

LemonShortbread&Light-7-2________

Sometimes, when it feels like sadness might overtake us,

we bake.

something so small.

An unseen part of us knows though that an ancient comfort

is resident in our kitchens. When hope seems dim, or our candle flickers,

and we really haven’t much of a clue where to put our sorrow,

we can always bake cookies to share.

____

LemonShortbread&Light-11

______________________

these little shortbreads are aromatic and truly lovely. if you already know and love lavender in the kitchen, go for the full teaspoon. if you’re trying for the first time, you might start with the smaller amount. but if you don’t have lavender at all, it can be omitted. or try replacing it with ¼ to a scant ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, very finely minced. (Culinary lavender is easily obtained on-line.)

however, if chocolate is your flavor, a recipe for chocolate shortbread follows.

___

Lemon Lavender Shortbread

___

½ cup butter at room temperature

½ cup powdered sugar (unsifted)

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

¾ to 1 teaspoon culinary lavender  (see above) 

¼ teaspoon lemon extract

1 cup flour

___

Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Drop the powdered sugar into a small bowl. Mince very finely the zest of lemon and the lavender and add them to the powdered sugar. Add the lemon extract.  Stir to mix; then add to the butter and cream together. Work in the flour, scraping the bowl as you go.  Once the dough has mostly come together, remove to an unfloured board and knead  until nice and smooth.

Either spray with non-stick vegetable spray or brush a thin layer of vegetable oil on the bottom and sides of your pan. Firmly press the dough into the pan. (I used a clay pan with Scottish thistle imprinted on it, but an 8-inch round cake pan or 9-inch pie tin will work just fine!) Prick the entire surface with a fork and bake at 325°F (165°C) for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until lightly browned. Set the timer and allow the shortbread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife and flip the pan over onto a wooden cutting board. (If it doesn’t release right away, tap one edge of the pan.) Cut the shortbread into 8 pieces while still warm.

( to print lemon lavender recipe, click. )

LemonShortbread&Light-12

_____

Chocolate Shortbread

½ cup butter at room temperature

1½ Tablespoons dark, unsweetened cocoa powder

½ cup powdered sugar (unsifted)

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup flour (unsifted)

_____

Cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla and cream together. Work in the flour, scraping the bowl as you go.  Once the dough has mostly come together, remove to an unfloured board and knead  until nice and smooth.

Either spray with non-stick vegetable spray or brush a thin layer of vegetable oil on the bottom and sides of your pan. Firmly press the dough into the pan. (I used a clay pan with Scottish thistle imprinted on it, but an 8-inch round cake pan or 9-inch pie tin will work just fine!) Prick the entire surface with a fork and bake at 325°F (165°C) for about 30 to 35 minutes, being careful not to allow the edges to get too dark. Set the timer and allow the shortbread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife and flip the pan over onto a wooden cutting board. (If it doesn’t release right away, tap one edge of the pan.) Cut the shortbread into 8 pieces while still warm.

( to print chocolate recipe, click. )

LemonShortbread&Light-10

If you make them both, store separately so their aromas don’t mingle with one another. These will keep well in the freezer. 

Or better, share them with a friend or a child today.

LemonShortbread&Light-7

take heart.  love big.  shine.

spree

35 Comments Post a comment
  1. This post is so beautiful, so true, Mama. Those cookies, that candle, that box, this gift. Your light is shining. Thank you for the truth and encouragement to shine this morning. I needed your pictures and your words. I love you.

    December 18, 2012
    • And I needed yours Ashley! You’re such a treasure!

      December 18, 2012
  2. Something has not happen here … because nobody tells me when you post something new. Shortbreads looks so good, but I don’t like Lavender in food … feels like I get soap in my mouth. But I love chocolate … so something for me here too.
    Now I will tick a box here and see if works better between us. *smile

    December 18, 2012
    • Viveka, not sure why you’re not being alerted. Please let me know if that continues. The lavender thing…I’m not sure if that’s an “individual” taste thing, or if it’s dependent on the variety of lavender…which wouldn’t surprise me at all. But it can also be the quantity…finding that perfect amount is key. BUT none of this is meant to try to persuade you to eat your soap! 🙂 These lemon ones without the lav are also very good! And, well, chocolate, you know the rest of that story…

      December 18, 2012
      • I just ticked the box about following – and not the email request under the comment box.
        All fixed now … so it should work from now on.
        Love the smell of lavender – after my cancer operation I had a little bag with lavender inside my pillow case – so I didn’t need to take sleeping pills.

        Have tried different things with lavender in – and we don’t agree … so I leave it as it stands *smile .. lemon short breads will I fall for and anything with chocolate goes for me.

        December 18, 2012
  3. Shortbread – Yummers! Love the candle stick holder too:) Happy Tuesday!

    December 18, 2012
    • I’ve had the candle stick holder for years and years. It’s been called the “courting candle.” A father would light it when his daughter went out with a “gentleman” and she was expected to be home before the candle burnt out. Or (it’s inferred) have hell to pay… :-/

      December 18, 2012
  4. Such cute shortbread and gorgeous photos! I love the flavourings you’ve used!

    December 18, 2012
  5. Ali #

    Thank you for this timely post!
    On this snow day, we plan to make and hand out these shortbread, lemon for Emi and “chotlet” for Luke. We made homeless care packages on Sunday and these will be the perfect accompaniment to let our light shine and bring some love to those who really need it!

    December 18, 2012
    • I loved reading this Ali! Thank you so much for it!!

      December 18, 2012
  6. Don #

    Thank you for the lovely post. Very well received and I’m wondering if you intended the ‘arrow’ formed by the words that speak of ‘your little light’ within the paragraph just above the first photo? Surely you did. I love the beautiful affect it had, pulling me forward, so to speak. More import though, are the inspiring words you chose. Lifting. I feel better just having read them.
    Looking forward to trying the recipe! Lavender and short bread, mmm…

    December 18, 2012
    • Thank you Don! Your words brightened the day. Let me know once you’ve tried (and fallen in love with) the shortbread… 😉

      December 18, 2012
  7. I’ve made lavender scones, but not shortbread. Great idea. I just pulled the dry lavender flowers from stems. They were shedding everywhere, but still smelled too good to let go. They were just waiting for a recipe like this!

    December 18, 2012
    • Well, happy to come along Sue, just in the knick of time. 🙂

      December 18, 2012
  8. This is so pretty.. it reminds me of summer and my lavender shortbread.. thank you for this, it’s been an awful week and these wee cookies bring a smile of joy to my face and happiness to the heart. I’ve never tried chocolate ones.. they’d be so yummy! And I love your pan, it holds the pattern so much better than my rolling pin.. Glad to see such beautiful photographs today, it’s just what I needed.. a sprinkling of spree:) xx Smidge

    December 18, 2012
    • Oh Smidge! I’d completely forgotten that you’d done a lavender shortbread! Must be an age-thing. But now I’m remembering the beauty of that post. The fields of lavender. And weren’t you at a store with your daughter? What I do remember for sure is vowing that one day I’d make them! The farthest thing from my mind was that I’d one day claim full credit as if they’d just come to me out of the ethers. :- | I remember too that rolling pin of yours and thinking, how cute. (Something you might find helpful: In my reading I’ve heard that allowing the formed or pressed cookies to dry out a little bit before baking can help preserve their shape. Also heard that chilling them after forming but before baking helps too.) But I have to say, I do love my little pan. It’s makes short easy work of these cookies, and I’m all about easy these days! On a purely personal note – when you say “bad week” are you referring to the week you’ve just had? I know you had a crazy one last week. Or are you referring to the recent tragedies? In either case, my heart goes out to you. I’m sure happy to number you as a friend in times like these!! Take good care! xxx

      December 18, 2012
      • Oh, Lovely spree..I’m sorry for the misunderstanding.. please know that I make no claim on your pretty shortbread.. I only truly marvel at how wonderful it is to see your beautiful baking and photography and how it can really transport me (and all of us) to another place and time. That is the pure magic of your photography and why I admire it so. I love your cookie pan.. it makes these look almost like speculoos (sp?) cookies. These are the perfect Christmas cookie I think and I can’t wait to try them.. Thank you for sharing such beauty today xxxx your friend always xxxx

        December 19, 2012
  9. pete clemente #

    Beautifully expressed…

    December 18, 2012
  10. Spree, your light light shines bright, true and warm. With that said, I confess to stealing your last one of these shortbreads from your test batch. It was quite the treat,the illicit nature of the snack made it all the sweeter but now I have me a guilt trip. Lemon…Lavender…Shortbread, what’s not to like? Methinks these rank right up their with your world famous Mexican wedding cookies!

    December 18, 2012
    • All is forgiven, Guinea Pig! xxx

      December 19, 2012
  11. You’ve shared some beautiful posts, Spree, and this one is among your best. Your heartfelt sentiment was so beautifully expressed and you took such care staging and presenting your shortbreads. The overall effect is one of comfort, a desperately needed commodity right now. Thank you, Spree. As I said, easily one of your best.

    December 18, 2012
    • Your words meant a lot to me, John. A deep and heartfelt thanks!

      December 19, 2012
  12. Beautiful words, beautiful pictures and gorgeous shortbread cookies. I feel like I have visited a very calming special place. Take care this holiday. BAM

    December 19, 2012
    • What a lovely thing to say, Bam! I’m very grateful to have offered you a moment of calm! You take care as well!! Maybe joy will visit us all. x, spree

      December 19, 2012
  13. settleandchase #

    Beautiful and lovely.

    I wanted to write something about this too but I just felt I didn’t have the words..thankyou for expressing them.

    “in this hurting world, the one thing,

    the one thing, we can each do

    is let our own light shine.”

    I agree completely..

    x

    December 21, 2012
  14. This is such a sweet and inspiring post Spree
    Sometimes letting your little light shine takes everything you’ve got because it is so dark and cold around.
    Knowing that each light is unique and the world needs each and every light to fight the darkness sure make one’s existance much more meaningful!
    Thank you for writing this..you know, ever since you wrote about hope and tagged me (I was honored) I have been trying to put a post together! but I am going through a bit of a rough time in my life and somehow whenever I set down to write about hope no words come through..I think I needed your post today to remind me that even the faintest candle can fight darkness if allowed to shine..

    December 22, 2012
    • It’s so true Sawsan!…..sometimes letting your light shine feels like the hardest thing to do amidst the dark that threatens to overwhelm us. I’ve struggled with that very thing recently. It was in the depth of the struggle, feeling utterly powerless, that I realized that no matter how faint or small or faltering my light, the one thing I could do was allow it to burn. We have SO little control don’t we? But Always, the one thing that IS within our purview, is whether that Love within us shines. And even in times of great blanketing sadness, your light (or my light) shining can help kindle another’s…and the effect of that multiplied, candle by candle, is anything BUT powerless. Sawsan, I’m so sorry you’re in the midst of a rough and painful time! may it soon be lifted! One thing i hope you would know is that even in the midst of your troubles, I still the lovely light that’s yours. blessings on you my friend! Please be very gentle with you!

      December 23, 2012
  15. A wonderful post, spree, photos and all! Have tried lavender in food, at a famous lavender farm here in Victoria. An interesting taste, but an acquired one I think! Merry Christmas to you; and I look forward to more wonderful posts from you next year. All the best, :O)

    December 23, 2012
    • Janina, I apologize for taking so long to respond to your kind comment! Hoping that your Christmas was lovely and that the new year is full of promise!! Be well!

      January 8, 2013
  16. Sorry I missed this last month but a pleasure to read now. Most beautiful photos and words Spree.
    Happy New Year …. x wendy

    January 5, 2013
    • Thank you Wendy…very kind! I’ve missed a Great deal this past month…and do hope I can make some headway in catching up. I seem to be eating a bit of dust lately! Happy New Year my friend! x

      January 8, 2013
      • I’ve let go a little and instead of starting at the beginning of the 400 emails I start with the newest and work my way back. If I don’t get to everything. It’s ok. I loved Smidge’s analogy with ‘real time’ friends and blogging friends. Have a great day. x wendy

        January 8, 2013

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