I have a lot of sickly sweet memories from childhood, ones which, when recalled in my mind, are glamour shot affected images complete with a cheesy vignette frame. Baking Christmas cookies with my mother can't be excluded from these precious recollections of my childhood, despite the fact that the older I got the fainter the sugary vignette effect became. That is, my cookies began to resemble male anatomy as opposed to cheerful holiday snowmen and stars.
But one thing remained the same: the terra cotta cookie presses which had a pre-design in mind. No willies would come out of these all too cute shapes, which ranged from kittens and owls to snowflakes and holly. When I was visiting my parents earlier this month I went shopping in the basement and rediscovered these lovelies and, with my mother's permission, relocated them to England.
If you don't have any cookie stamps, never fear! You can roll and cut these into rounds or squares if you prefer, or even use a proper shortcake mould.
You can get creative with flavours too. For instance if you'd like to add a seasonal touch, throw in some cinnamon and mixed spice with the dry mix and substitute brown sugar.
Please note I have adjusted the recipe slightly to specify Pure brand non dairy spread as I have had a few complaints from people that this recipe doesn't work with other butter alternatives. I hate to be brand specific, but as it's an ongoing issue I needed to change it.
Vegan Scottish Shortbread
- Pulse sugar and flour in a food processor for one minute before adding cold margarine/butter. Pulse until mixed completely (another minute or so).
- Roll into approx 10 heaped teaspoon balls and with a lightly oiled cookie press, press each to about 1/8th-1/4th inch thickness. If you don't have cool cookie presses, just use a slightly oiled bottom of a glass.
- Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet at 175 C for about 10 minutes (perhaps a little shorter if the cookies are on the thin side), or until cookies just begin to brown (they look prettier with no colour, but I like the taste of them slightly browned around the edges)!
- Cool on a wire rack or just eat them straight out of the oven. Whatever.