The Notched Wing

Helen Tara Hughes – Poetry, Fiction, Film, Phantasms

Christmas Baking

We are having our first bit of real winter in Toronto. Minus 1o degrees here in Ontario feels like an Alberta minus 20. Raw. But on Sunday it was warmer – it was snowing, with big, romantic flakes drifting down. The air was balmy and quiet with that insulated hush which snowfall always brings.

This weekend past, I decided to do some Christmas Baking. By Sunday, I was surrounded by plates and plates of cookies. The CBC was on the radio, Stuart McLean was making me laugh, and my kitchen was warm and redolent with savoury and sweet aromas.

Now I just have to give them all away…(thankfully, that is the easy part!)

These are my two favorite recipe’s of the bunch:

Mom’s Whipped Shortbread

1 lb butter (soft), 1 cup icing sugar, 1/2 c cornstarch, 3 cups flour

Whip in mixmaster until it looks like stiff whipped cream. Drop by spoonful on cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 to 20 mintues (watch carefully! – I like actually baking them for 13 minutes)

Variations:
Add 1 Tbsp of vanilla & 2 Tbsp of Earl Grey loose tea. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, so that tea may soften, before baking.
OR
Add one Toblerone bar, chopped coarsely.

Chocolate Sambuca Crinkles

1 1/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 stick butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup Sambuca
2Tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup icing sugar

Melt chocolate with butter in double boiler, stirring until smooth. Lightly whisk together eggs, walnuts, Sambuca and granulated sugar in another bowl. stir in flour and dry ingredients, and chocolate (dough will be thin). Chill, covered, until firm (about 2 hours). Sift icing sugar onto plate. Roll heaping tablespoons of dough into balls and roll in icing sugar. Bake 2 inches apart on 2 lightly buttered cookie sheets, at 350 degrees, in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through, until puffed and cracked but centres are still a bit soft (about 10-12 minutes). Cool on wire racks.

Author: smallboy

Helen Tara Hughes is a writer, producer and actor. An award-winning theatre performer, she cut her teeth in classical and new work at major theatres across Canada, including the Stratford Festival. Her first taste of documentary work – a POV radio documentary for CBC’s ‘Outfront’ – gave her the documentary bug, and in 2009 she transitioned into Producing with the feature documentary, Goodness in Rwanda. As a writer, she has been published by Backofthebook.ca, Eros Digest, and TWISI, and has a book of short stories that will be published in the fall of 2012. As a filmmaker, she creates short films based on poetic writing. She moonlights as an Asst Producer and Coordinator for documentary, factual, and independent films, and is developing a slate of her own media projects for 2013.

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