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.

5 Comments to “Shortbread.”

  1. By Beth, December 9, 2007 @ 8:52 am

    I love your description of baking. That is exactly how it feels.
    It’s a time when one brings order out of chaos. This time of year is chaotic, but you go into the kitchen and you have a list, directions, the ingredients you need. You create a mess, but it’s a mess that’s understandable, manageable. And you can legitimately say, “I’m busy, I can’t right now.” The smells coming from the kitchen keep the world at bay. The aromas tell them – you can’t right now, you’re busy. In the end, you’re applauded for the racks of golden goodness, applauded for taking time for yourself to do something creative and healing.

  2. By Beth, December 9, 2007 @ 8:54 am

    I also baked yesterday: cashew butter cookies and cranberry walnut oatmeal cookies and mocha fudge for the cookie exchange at work.

  3. By Liz, December 9, 2007 @ 12:08 pm

    If I’m still in the mood later, I’m going to try making butter tart pockets.

  4. By Beth, December 9, 2007 @ 9:09 pm

    ooo, sounds good. I want the recipe!

  5. By Arwen, December 9, 2007 @ 11:54 pm

    With the words “butter tart” and “pockets” all in the same sentence, how could the mood not eventually take you?

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