I love giving the gift of baked goods, especially shortbread cookies. There is just something special about a batch of homemade shortbread cookies in a bakery box, tied with a bow, and accompanied by a sweet note that makes the recipients heart happy.
So when Bob’s Red Mill asked me if I wanted to bake some cookies using their flour to give as a gift, I knew the answer was yes! Bob’s Red Mill provided me with the highest quality all-purpose flour I’ve ever used which really made these shortbread cookies shine!
As long as I’ve been baking and blogging, I’ve been gifting my baked goods to my friends, neighbors, family, and co-workers. Whether it was Valentine’s day gifts or biscotti for Emily’s teachers or desserts for soldiers & families at a dinner at an overseas military base in Germany… I know that it feels so good to give to others.
I recently read an article that listed the benefits of cooking for others. This article said that cooking for others:
- Is an altruistic act, but also so much more…
- Is a form of nurturing…
- Can create bonds and build community…
- Is a form of self-care…
- Is a practice of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is something I try to practice daily and it makes sense why baking and mindfulness go hand in hand.
The article goes on to say… “That’s one of the interesting things about cooking, is that if you look at all the psychological benefits, there’s a cumulative effect: it’s self care, it’s taking care of others, it’s physical care, it’s mindfulness, and it hits on meeting basic needs for yourself and others. There are a lot of pieces that come into cooking a meal for others.”
These shortbread cookies were made with one person in mind. My new boss Kevin at ThanksUSA. I met Kevin last year because he’s also on the Board of Directors at Dog Tag Inc. where I was a Fellow in their program. I didn’t know much about him then, but knew that he had accomplished great things as a Lt. Col in the Marine Corp and then as the founder of Hiring Our Heroes.
I realized quickly what an incredible leader Kevin is and found myself excited by his ability to see the leadership potential in me. For me, this meant everything. The last 3 years have been full of uncertainty and for Kevin to see so clearly in my abilities was the reassurance I needed that I had made the right decision to take a full time position with ThanksUSA.
So, one Friday after a busy morning of presentations and meetings… I stopped Kevin in the parking lot and said I had a gift for him. I handed him the box of shortbread cookies with a note and told him I baked them, hugged him and wished him a good weekend.
It felt good to acknowledge how much his leadership meant to me. It felt good to do something nice for him. It felt good to bake something that I know would brighten his day.
And that… that is why it’s so important to bake and give to others.
The past week on two separate days, I had cookies and brownies for all the neighborhood kids as they got off the bus after school. One of the mom’s looked at me and said, “Oh… so you’re THAT MOM.”
Yes. I am that mom… and nothing will ever change that.
- 2 cups unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 4½ cups Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
- melted chocolate
- Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together cold butter and brown sugar.
- Add the salt and 3½ cups of the flour and mix on medium-low speed until combined.
- Replace paddle attachment with the dough hook. Sprinkle ½ cup flour and turn the mixer on low-medium. Allow the hook to knead dough adding as much of the remaining ½ cup flour as needed to make the dough soft, pliable, and similar to play-dough, not sticky.
- Divide dough into three sections and pat into a disc. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes or until slightly firm enough to roll out.
- On a floured surface, roll disc of dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the dough and place each cookie inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
- If decorating with sprinkles, pour sprinkles into a bowl and press the side of each cookie into the sprinkles and then place on the baking sheet.
- Using a fork, poke holes in the top of each cookie.
- Bake 12-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. The bake time will depend on the size of your cookie cutter. Smaller shapes 1in-2in will need 12-15 minutes - while larger shapes will need up to 20 minutes.
- Repeat with the remaining dough, working in batches so dough stays chilled and workable.
- Cool completely on wire rack before serving.
- Store cookies in an air tight container at room temperature.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bob’s Red Mill.