Shortbread: A Cautionary Tale

25 Oct

A very sad weekend in the Alice household.

My son, who perversely is incredibly interested in cooking and baking and making cakes, suggested that we make some biscuits for Daddy.

I agreed that on a cold afternoon indoors it would be fun. He loves stirring the mix in the bowl and cutting out the shapes. Although he’s not so keen on waiting for anything to actually cook, (‘patience young Grasshopper’).

I had some ground rice flour so decided to make some shortbread.

My son mixed the butter and sugar standing on his little kitchen stool, while I weighed out the rest of the dry ingredients and greased up some paper for the baking tray.

The dough was slightly crumbly and dry and wouldn’t roll without breaking. So I added a bit of water and created a massive lump out of it, wrapped it in clingfilm and popped it into the fridge for half an hour. Hoping that it would roll after chilling.

Grasshopper hopped about unhappy to wait for the dough to chill.

After 30 minutes we successfully rolled out the shortbread dough on a floury surface. It did break up quite badly. We were meant to get 16 biscuits out of it but we managed 10. So far a reasonable success.

My son pressed the cookie cutters into the dough, carving out hearts, circles and stars. He was so happy!

Onto the greased up tray and into the oven for 20minutes. Here they are going in, look great don’t they?:
Grasshopper hopped about unhappy to wait for the biscuits to bake.

After he asked me every two minutes if they were ready yet I set him up a painting table to take his mind off them.

But I watched them religiously!

After about 18minutes baking I checked on them, they were still quite white and maybe a little bit underdone. So I popped them back in.

And HERE, HERE is where I went wrong.

Instead of turning the oven OFF and leaving them in there to finish off in the remaining heat I turned the oven UP to FULL! Thinking that a sixty second blast would bake them to crisp, crumbly perfection.

My son came in covered in paint and needing the toilet. So upstairs we went. I told him that as soon as we went downstairs our shortbread biscuits would be ready. He was so excited.

But they weren’t ready. They were incinerated.
The kitchen filled with billowing smoke as I pulled them out of the oven and my son ran screaming into the other room.

I knew they were ruined, my son’s surprise was ruined. I felt terrible.

I explained that they were burnt and he and Daddy would be probably unable to eat them. He cried, and became inconsolable. (The second time my cooking has made my son cry recently!)

So, I brushed off what I could and after cooling let him nibble on one. He declared they were fine and arranged them on a plate, even describing the burnt sugar as ‘glitter’.

When Daddy came home he made a great show of pretending to nibble on one also, before the rest went in the bin.

Not bad for nearly two hours work….

If only I’d not turned the oven up and left them to cook at their own pace.
Maybe it’s Grasshopper’s mother who needs to learn some patience?


11 Responses to “Shortbread: A Cautionary Tale”

  1. Rachel 25/10/2011 at 12:14 pm #

    I’m impressed you even attempted shortbread, tricksy stuff that it is!

    • Alice Can't Cook 26/10/2011 at 9:17 am #

      Thanks for that – yes I won’t be attempting it again. The dough was made out of brick dust!
      But with so few ingredients I really didn’t see how I could wrong…

  2. Love Poppy.. 25/10/2011 at 4:29 pm #

    The joy of being the Mummy of a little one is he still thinks your God and can do no wrong. Enjoy it while it lasts !
    That he loved them and even added ‘glitter’ proves it.

    P.S I make crap biscuits too… !

    • Alice Can't Cook 26/10/2011 at 9:18 am #

      Ah thanks! Yes I suppose. He had fun in the making.

      I’m buying all biscuits from now on – they are the devils own to make xxx

  3. All That I'm Eating 30/10/2011 at 9:00 pm #

    Oh no! Alice this is heartbreaking! I actually really like burnt things so I’d have enjoyed them but I hope that for 1 hour and 59 minutes of the 2 hours you were having fun? Shortbread is a right pain to get right so I shouldn’t worry.

    • Alice Can't Cook 01/11/2011 at 9:06 am #

      Ah thanks for that – you’d have been able to eat about half of these then.
      Yes he loves cooking so we did enjoy ourselves, but his little face just crumpled….

      Thanks for reading xxx

  4. Kimberly 09/11/2011 at 9:28 pm #

    Haven’t we all been there? 🙂 I think your son must have been raised right to stay so optimistic about the biscuits. He also must care for you a lot. And hey, they weren’t too badly burned, right?
    I left a pan of mini quiches in the oven (without turning it off) for a party. I didn’t find them until the next night when I couldn’t figure out what the awful smell was.

    • Alice Can't Cook 10/11/2011 at 9:34 pm #

      Ah thank you Kimberly! Great to hear from you.
      Thankfully he still loves the thought of cooking, I haven’t managed to put him off yet!
      Sorry about your quiches – well it happens to the best of us (and me)
      Thanks so much for reading xx


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