Avon Holiday Recipe 2010 - English Shortbread

As you may know, my mother is English and my father is Italian, which means that Christmas in our house is filled with ridiculous amounts of food and a crazy collection of traditions from both countries. While the kitchen is always filled with loud voices and wonderful smells, there are two things that my parents (pictured, left, at their first apartment in the US) make together: homemade pasta and shortbread.

Now, don't get me wrong...I love me some homemade pasta (after all, Italian blood does run in my veins)...but my favorite tradition, without doubt, involves the baking of shortbread...a quintessentially English food that my parents make together, with love.

My mother's recipe is below:

MacLean Family Shortbread

3 cups of sifted all-purpose flour
½ cup of sugar
1 cup of soft butter
1 egg yolk
1 sous chef (In our house, an Italian male. Substitute gender/nationality of your choice.)

Butter and flour a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, sugar and butter together until crumbly. Add egg yolk and knead in well, until the dough comes together in a ball. **This part can be "tiresomely long," according to my mom, so this is where my very patient father steps in.

Divide the mixture into four parts and roll each into a ½-inch thick circle. Prick with a fork. Cut each circle into 8 triangles, place the pieces on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake for 30 minutes longer, until the shortbread looks light brown and yummy. **During this time, may we suggest a robust discussion (these are the Italians and English here, remember) about what time you should put the roast beef in the oven to be able to eat your holiday dinner at 4pm?

Yield: 32 pieces of shortbread. And another year of your sous-chef proclaiming that "without him, there would be no shortbread."

Now, of course, you have to eat this shortbread! May I suggest a cup of tea and a romance novel? Try mine...


Or perhaps one from the fabulous Rachael Herron, whose recipe for Buttermilk Pie is next in the Avon Holiday Recipe Ring! Click the image below to head over to Rachael's site!