Friday, December 01, 2006

Christmas Daddies, and Cookie Recipe

If the Parade of Lights doesn't get us in the Christmas Spirit every year, then Christmas Daddies is guaranteed to! It's a charity telethon drive, started up by two men back in the '60s, moved by a small child begging for money in a bar to buy milk & bread for his family.

It is truly a Maritime institution, with extremely generous donations, even through tough economic times here, to make Christmas bright for a child. The money that's donated goes back to the community it was donated from, and buys presents for children whose families just can't afford gifts. The telethon is full of local talent, ranging from professional bands to little kids that like to sing. There's auctions of items like a plunger on a pedestal, that has people bidding high for the honour of having it for a year. :D (Really!) And auctions of lots of other things, like wonderful woodworking pieces, quilts, etc., that you get to keep for good. Signed hockey player jerseys, Celine Dion materials (she always generously donates autographed cds, posters, and such, every year), and more.

Bar owners, and other business owners also have events throughout the year that fund raise for the event, and then come on TV to hand over their cheques. As I say, really a Maritime Institution - Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without it! (Even Maritimers who have moved to other provinces, etc. can now watch it via satellite, and they phone in donations!)

I always bake my first batch of Christmas cookies while watching the telethon (this year, it's Sunday, December 3rd), it really puts me in the Christmas spirit! :D

And my first cookies are always (drum roll please!)....


I use the recipe on the back of the Canada Brand Corn Starch (the one with the rooster on the box) box.

Called "Grandma's Shortbread", it's the recipe my family's been using for decades. REALLY easy, and really delicious! Makes about 24 cookies.

1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup butter, softened

Sift together corn starch, icing sugar and flour. With wooden spoon, blend in softened butter until soft, smooth dough forms.

Alternately, sift the dry ingredients into a food processor. Cut up the softened butter into cubes, pop into the processor, and pulse, occasionally scraping down the sides, until it looks well blended - like a small, lumpy grain. When you take it out and put it on a hard surface, squeeze it together and you'll see its just the same as described above, a "smooth dough". The processor makes it way easier!

If dough is too soft to handle, cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.

Shape the dough into 1" (2.5 cm) balls, place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 1/2" (4 cm) apart, and flatten with lightly floured fork. Or, roll dough to 1/4" (6mm), and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Decorate with candied cherries (my favorite), colored sprinkles or nuts if desired.

Bake in 300 deg. F oven 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. I find I get the best results if I bake them on parchment paper - you don't want your shortbreads very browned at all, they should be just "kissed" with brown underneath. Cool cookies on a wire rack. Once they're cooled, you can decorate with frosting, if you didn't decorate with sprinkles, cherries, etc.

So yummy! Enjoy your Christmas baking, I know I will! :D