Shortbread, an uncomplicated Love

Shortbread cookie in the form of a heart for Valentine's Day.

Our Valentine’s Day shortbread cookies, being dusted with icing sugar.
Photo © JE Nilsson and C M Cordeiro-Nilsson for CMC 2011

I’ve been meaning to come up with some very decadent and fancy, most likely chocolate filled dessert this Valentine’s Day in celebration of Friendship, Passion and Love. Most everything crossed my mind from raspberry filled molten lava chocolate cake to Dulce de Leche brownies and chocolate fudge cake laced with Amaretto or Kahlúa.

But after pondering recipes and life experiences, my thoughts often came back to butter cookies and shortbread cookies. Shortbread was central in my life because it was my Mother’s favourite cookie. And it was also what I was immediately offered, crusted over with granulated sugar, first thing I stepped into my grandmother’s house regardless of whether it was lunch or tea or dinner.

Shortbread is, in all its simplicity, decadent and luxurious. What makes it so irresistible is the ratio of butter to flour and sugar that make these cookies melt in your mouth by the touch of the tip of your tongue to the cookie. Breathe over it and you risk having the cookie turn molten between your fingertips!

Shortbread in the form of hearts, St. Valentine's Day.

Just out of the oven. The cookies are quite soft when straight out of the oven and can easily be cut into any shape you like.

As restaurants and food channels lure and flaunt elaborately ornate recipes this Valentine’s Day that I too love, I can’t help but rivet to one of my most fundamental culinary experiences that is light-hearted, warm and filled with loving memories from my childhood – the Shortbread Cookie. All that’s needed is flour, butter and sugar brought together into a dough. Nothing more complicated than that.

Norwegian Forest Cat, February 2011.

Our Norwegian Forest Cat happened to be around when we took the cookie pictures and he appeared curious about the icing sugar dusting – hey, is this snow? …then I’m the expert here … still in full winter regalia.

Shortbread in the form of a heart, in the late winter / early spring light of Valentine's Day.

In the February sunlight.

A lot of us would know Love to be a complicated affair. But if one could feel so much engulfed by Love through the offering of something as basic as Shortbread, perhaps Love isn’t after all something to be so much grappled with and philosophized about, is it?

We wish all Friends and Readers a splendidly warm St. Valentine’s Day!

Cheryl & JE

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