Grandpa McEwan was a baker. Since he was 16!
While I love food, I’ve never put a recipe on this blog … until now!
Part of family history is the smell, the taste, the experience of what it means to be family. Baking was a big part of that for me. Though Grandpa died before I was born, there was one recipe that was a part of every holiday season, Christmas and Easter: the McEwan shortbread.
My mom baked them every year, for as long as I can remember. Only when she left her own apartment did that tradition end. And on her last Christmas season, we used the assisted living facility’s common kitchen to bake cookies, to be packed as gifts for her friends at the residence.
You could tell these were home made. The final touch was the use of the fork to make a special mark this way, then that, on the top. It was something Mom had picked up from Grandpa.
At age 19, Grandpa became a baker at Fenton’s bakery on Bank Street. Years later, shortly before his death in 1956, he retired from Fenton’s.
He had a stint in the Air Force in World War II .. as a man in his late forties! .. as — of course — a cook, at a training base in Canada.
Since I’m not a cook, I will give the details as I understand them to read. I notice I don’t have a “yields” amount. (I believe the yield is 24 cookies.) If you try it, let me know if I’ve written it understandably.
3 1/4 cup white flour
1/2 cup sugar – confectioners’
1 cup butter
Sift flour and sugar together 4-5 times. Stand butter at room temperature 15-20 minutes, then cut into dry ingredients with two knives or a pastry cutter until perfectly blended. Mold on wax paper with your hands. Roll into small balls and flatten with a fork so cookie is about 3/4 inch thick.
Bake about 15 minutes at 300-325 degrees F
[=150-160C; original is in F].
Must be almost white when done. If baked too long, it will become hard.