Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Celebrating Sweetness in my life with Classic Shortbread

I peeped from the 2nd. floor , crouching , like a cat, looking at  who was caught and who managed to stay hidden.
We were playing hide-and-seek. 
One by one  the players were caught, I crouched in my place and peeped every few minutes, glad I was 'safe'. 
After a while, I was tired, my knees scraped, my hands, filthy from crouching and adapting the normal behavior of a cat, my nose had a smut from pressing it against the brick walls of the building passage where I had concealed myself and seriously, how was it that no one could find me? Was I really *that * ingenious at finding a hiding place?
It was because I was a kacha- limbu.
I was always the kacha- limbu ( a person of no consequence, when playing) when I was in my lower K.G class. The big boys and girls ( ages 8-11 or more) would let me tag along and play hide-and-seek with them, but  I was never 'caught'. It took me a while to catch on! But it was okay. I was in a group of over 20-25 kids, around my age and it was fun to play anything, even if in many games, I was a kacha-limbu!

Sadly, I cannot say that for my little one. He does not have  a big group of friends and playing together means setting up 'play-dates' something my parents (or I, for that matter) had no idea of. 
We play a modified version of hide-and-seek, around the apartment. Somehow, of late this too has undergone a modification, S will hide under the comforter and yell, " Mommy, lapu (I'm hiding)" and I am supposed to hunt him down. Where am I, did you ask? Why, right next to him , on the bed, a few inches away from him! 
I have to then think and ask, "hmmmm, are you in the laundry room?", 
a giggle and " noooooo", 
" hmmmm, are you hiding in the closet?"
" noooooooo"
" I know!!! you are n the bathroom!"
"hehehheh! nooooooo"
" where are you???"
Where upon, he throws the comforter back, with a flourish and declares, "I am here"!!! 

Rinse, Repeat ( modification: hiding places change to kitchen / in the dishwasher/ wal-mart/restaurant/ school/ park/ Baba's office, all the way to the other end of the country). 

Last weekend was another such day, this time, he dragged his father in the game, of course M obliged, and taught him a further modified version, Look at Father and Son playing hide-and-seek in the picture below! 
M had dozed off, the opportunist that he is and Little S was giggling waiting to be found. This game went on for a good 20 mins. until I stepped in and started asking questions.
Talk about a kacha-limbu! 

Summer activities r us
Of course, four year old's find other games to play. And if anything, I have learned that silence, lasting longer than 1 minute spells d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r.
I was down with a blinding migraine and after swallowing 2 tablets I sank into the comfortable sofa groaning inwardly. I sat like that, letting  the air conditioning cool my throbbing brow and covered my eyes with a limp hand. I sat like that, perhaps a minute or two before it hit me, 'itna sannata kyon hai, bhai' (why this pin drop silence) and I propelled myself out of my comfort zone and tottered into the bedroom only to meet a - fragrant, cloud of- fine dust? I was delusional, I thought for a second. And then the haze cleared, I saw a 4 foot *something* caked  in talcum powder. Head to toe covered, bathed in powder. My head exploded, another few thousand hammers set to work and then I heard a small sound, issuing in the general direction of that *something*, " Mommy, I'm being careful and quiet ". I stood in utter disbelief, how could a 4 year old, within a span of a minute or two cause *all this* and SO quietly? And then I burst out laughing! There was nothing else I could do, well, apart from  grabbing the camera and capturing the moment forever.
All I could manage was catching him when he was taking it off. His face was still white with eyes shining like beads, I wanted to hug him and squeeze him, but that could wait, until he was cleaner. I sat him on a chair and he sat quietly (surprise) while I vacuumed  the powder from the carpet, changed the bed-sheet. Well, the boy and the room smell fresh, something in that!
Sweetness does not go unrewarded! 

Today, feeling better, I made these Classic Shortbread, cookies for him. When Borders went out of business, I went in, late and found this book  that I liked. Picked it up for about $5! What a steal:)
The book has many recipes I want to and can try. Today's recipe is simple, no fuss and few ingredients, which makes it a must - try for me!
They remind me of the famous Shrewsbury Biscuits from Kayani's Pune.So if you like Shrewsbury cookies, do try these.

You need:
8 oz/ 225 g Unsalted Butter
4 oz (1/2 cup)/ 115 g Caster (superfine) sugar, plus extra to dust
8 oz(1 3/4 cup) / 225 g All Purpose Flour
4 oz (2/3 cup) / 115 g Rice flour
Pinch Salt

Preheat the oven to 375 deg. F

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl using a hand mixer until light and fluffy.

Sift in the A P Flour, rice flour and pinch salt and using a wooden spoon, stir into the creamed mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead gently to form a  soft dough.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough in half and roll out one half on to a lightly floured work surface to form an  8 inch round.

Carefully transfer to a prepared tray, using a sharp knife ( or pizza cutter), score the surface of the dough into equal wedges, prick the surface lightly using a fork and using your fingers, press the edges for a fluted effect.

Repeat for the second  ball of dough. sprinkle lightly with extra sugar.

Bake  for 18-20 minutes or until the shortbreads are  light golden.

Remove from the oven and while still hot, follow the score marks and cut into wedges.

Cool on the baking tray for  minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. makes 16 wedges

I rolled the dough and Little S cut out the star shapes. It is time consuming, but the child had a great time. It was worth the effort. We also made wedges, but the star cookies were a hit with S! 

* Notes:
The Rice flour makes these shortbreads light and crisp. 
If you do not have rice flour, use All purpose flour
They are not overly sweet. A hint of sweet, just how I love it! makes it an ideal tea-time snack or even a treat in the lunch box.

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  1. Hi Manasi loved the story behind the shortbread. My toddler too was dressed in talcum powder yesterday night along with her baby doll and i too was feeling like squeezing her. The cookies look delicious dear I am sure the kiddo must have enjoyed them.

    1. Supriya, looks like our little ones are on track with the 'masti' part!
      My son liked them a lot and more so because he got to punch them.

  2. Nice write up...and cookies looks yummy..

  3. I can see how the addition of rice flour would add a melt in the mouth softness! Some other recipes call for cornstarch to add that same effect. Nice recipe!
    One thing I love about daycare is that Lila gets to play with other babies and they have a blast. It is great for a social baby like her.

    1. Thank you, Nupur.
      I can see how a day care has it's advantages, but I am a stay at home mom, and that option never came to my mind.
      But I have t say this, Thank God for summer school! ;)

  4. Aha... the Oh yeah moment finally arrived in your land.. Love little kids and their antics....This post would have been even better had it included the pic of the C@H rolling her eyes and yelling SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS..OH Boy!! Can I hear you now...cherish these moments as they are the glue to your bond with little S as he get Bigger in no time. And the cookies looks 5 Star.
    Love Ash.

    1. Sigh! it has, Ash, it has!
      Only I was dumb struck, what ever was he thinking!!!! I burst out laughing, hysterically, some may classify it, but laughing ;)

  5. LOL! This was such a good read! Totally enjoyed it and the pictures were like a cherry on the cake! I was a kachcha limbu too (they called me 'limbu-timbu' LOL!). I recently borrowed a short story collection from the library of several women writers and it had this story by Anita Desai titled 'Games at Twilight' - A hide-n-seek game in a summer afternoon where the kachcha limbu hides and waits a long wait to be found...eventually realising that he was just forgotten and others have moved on to some other game! His emotions and feelings are described so read it if u get a chance.

    I love shrewsbury biscuits from Kayani's so I'll definately try this recipe when I get a cookie craving! Thanks a bunch. Love and Hugs to little S :)

    - Priti

    1. Thank you Priti! Do let me know when you try the recipe and how you like it.
      I wonder if my library has this book, let me hunt!

  6. What u said is very true.... I re ally pity for this generation kids...
    They do not have more friends as we had in our childhood days n they play in iPhone, iPad etc... Even my kid plays with me like what u said... Then coming to the dish, it looks super crunchy n yummy....

  7. Cookies are shaped pretty....they look crunchy and yum....

  8. Lovely star cookies..i play hide n seek the same way with my kidoo...Nice post..

  9. looks lovely and delicious...mouthwatering!

  10. Your tales with the little one are so cute and heart warming. Hide & Seek was a hit game when I was child too and your post brought back all my memories. the ingredients for the cookies are so simple and the pleasure of cooking with the kiddo is priceless, am sure. :-)



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