Monday, January 7, 2013

Epiphany Donuts and Shortbread

Jean C. Gordon here, stretching the holidays out one more day. My family celebrated the Feast of the Three Kings (the Epiphany) yesterday with a special holiday treat. Doesn’t every one celebrate holidays with food? The treat: money donuts, my Grandma Chelikowsky’s and Dad’s version of an Epiphany or king cake.

Unlike the traditional cake, which has a prize in one piece, all of our donuts have a prize in them — a coin — mostly pennies, nickels, and dimes, with one quarter. The person who finds the quarter is the king/queen for the day.

Since I don’t have Grandma’s and Dad’s donut recipe, and not to overlook my Scots’ (Lindsay) heritage or the Gordons, I’m sharing a recipe for another of our holiday treats, shortbread. It’s from my husband’s grandmother (and great-grandmother?), dating back to before 1900. His Aunt Jean added some helpful instructions.


1 lb softened butter (the salted regular butter)
1 cup white sugar
Approx. 4 cups all-purpose (plain) white flour (Be sure to spoon the flour into the measuring cup because you might have to add a few more spoonfuls while you are mixing the batter to be the right consistency,)

Mix the softened butter and sugar together with a spoon and then add the flour one cup at a time and mix the batter with your hands until it feels ready to spread on a cookie sheet. Press the batter on the cookie with your hands until it spreads out evenly and smoothly. (It is not necessary to use a rolling pin unless you so desire.

Then mark the size pieces (leave the pieces on the cookie sheet!) you want with a table knofe and prick each piece a couple of times with a table fork (this lets air circulate through each piece while the shortbread is baking). Depending on how you mark the pieces, you can have 48 or more pieces on a cookie sheet.

BAKE FOR TWO HOURS (2 HOURS) IN A SLOW OVEN (225 TO 235 DEGREES DEPENDING ON YOUR OVEN). Once the shortbread looks a nice golden brown and smells heavenly, remove from the oven and let the shortbread cool on the cookie sheet for about 15 minutes. Then use a table knife to cut each piece on the already marked lines but let the shortbread finish cooling on the cookie sheet.

Once the shortbread is cooled, then you can put the cookie pieces in a zip-lock bag (obviously Aunt Jean added this J), a tight container, or even in the freezer. These shortbread cookies keep for a long time if sealed well and even longer if frozen. They are delicious with a hot cup of coffee or tea. Enjoy this Scottish treat for the holidays or any time. Cheers!

So, what are your favorite holiday — any holiday — foods?


  1. What is the right consistency? As thick as cookies or a little gooeyer?

    Can I do it in a pan or does it spread a bit.

    I'm thinking about making this. You made it sound so good.

  2. Jean, thanks for the recipe. The shortbread sounds yummy!

    Pumpkin bread was a favorite of my grandmother's, which I usually prepare in December. This year, I was on a tight deadline and didn't have time for homemade treats.

    I love the Epiphany. The hustle bustle is over, and yet we're still celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus. I often reflect on the gifts I can give the Lord in the year ahead.

  3. Jean, thanks for the recipe. I will definitely do this next year with my granddaughters. I love Christmas and all that goes with it. In our family, have some holiday favorites--my grandmother's chocolate-nut caramels and frosted sugar cookies.

  4. Thick, Pam, not at all gooey. And, yes you can do it in a pan. It doesn't really spread or rise.

    The recipe makes plenty to share. My brothers took some home with them after their Christmas visit. My son took some too. And I still had plenty left to eat too much.

  5. Grandma Gordon recipe sounds really good i am sure my granddaughter would love to have the recipe she love to bake. I us too love to bake and cook but i am not able to do anything any more.


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