I do love baking. Baking is magic. There’s the fact that you put all these ingredients together, apply heat, and get something delicious. What’s not to love?

But then there’s also the fact that baking takes as long as it takes. You can’t rush creaming butter and sugar. You have to work at them until they get to the sweet spot. You have to know the texture you’re looking for, and you can’t stint. You can’t rush bread rising. Yeast doesn’t wear a watch. And you can’t rush how long something actually takes to bake. It takes as long as it takes, and you can’t speed it up. It’s meditation. At this hectic point in the year, it is a welcome oasis of calm, portioned out in packages of X number of minutes, or Until Golden Browns.

I’ve just finished this year’s shortbread. Not the family recipe, but mine. And in my meditative state, I thought about my mom and her annual production of shortbread, sugar cookies, chocolates, butter tarts, fudge, peanut brittle, almond brittle, Colie cookies, and florentines. Maybe she liked the meditative aspect of baking, as well.

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