We had a holiday brunch on the weekend with lots of kids and old friends, good food and coffee. It was a lot of fun, but the thing that I keep thinking about is looking up from a conversation to see a trio of seven-year-old boys hovering around the cookie tray surreptitiously stuffing their darling little faces.
There was gingerbread and my new favourite, chocolate chip shortbread (pictured above), peanut brittle and various holiday bits and pieces. The three boys—who didn’t really know one another very well but seemed to bond over their gluttony— stood near the cookies, but not so near as to be conspicuous, and slowly and carefully devoured nearly the entire tray while the adults paid them absolutely no mind.
I found it hilarious, mostly, I think, because it cast me vividly back to my own childhood and the recollection that the best part of going to parties with your parents is how they end up ignoring you and you can fly below the radar.
And, in the boys defense, these cookies are outrageously delicious.
Chocolate Chip Shortbread
(tweaked from Chatelaine magazine, November 2006)
makes about 50-60 small cookies
3 1/2 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup icing sugar
4 tsp cold water
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt (omit if you use salted butter)
6 squares chocolate (the best you can find)
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Spray baking sheets with oil or line with parchment paper.
2. Stir flour with chocolate chips in small bowl. Using larger bowl with electric mixer, beat butter until smooth, then add sugar until fluffy. Beat in water, vanilla and salt if using. Stir in the flour mixture slowly.
3. It will seem dry but the butter will allow you to shape it into smallish balls to put on the greased baking sheet. Bake until edges are golden 15-20 minutes. Cool on a rack.
4. I often freeze them at this stage and bring them out the night before I need them.
5. Melt chocolate in double boiler or microwave. Stir until smooth. Dip half of cookie into melted chocolate and place on wax paper. Let sit until cooled or refrigerate about 30 minutes until chocolate is set.