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Nothing says ‘Holiday Sweets’ like shortbread. I have two variations that I like to make: one is a large wheel of thicker, tougher shortbread, inspired by a trip to Scotland. The other, featured here, is the classic melt-in-your-mouth recipe taken from the back of the Canada Cornstarch Box. I like giving these cookies as gifts, packaging them in pretty little boxes. In winter, I often add dried apricot, dried wild rose petals on Valentine’s Day, fresh wild rose petals in July, and when I’m feeling decadent… a tablespoon of dried organic lavender, this time inspired by some time spent in France.

Canada Cornstarch Shortbread

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup icing sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup butter, softened

Sift together the cornstarch, icing sugar and flour. Beat in butter until a soft smooth dough forms. Shape into 1-inch balls and chill for 30 -60 minutes. Place 1-1/2 inch apart on a cookie sheet and flatten slightly with a floured fork. (Note: I always press mine down with a sweet little cookie press, pictured below.) Bake at 300 degrees (F) for 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool. Yield: 2 dozen

Experiment with your shortbread. For example, try adding 1/4 cup of chopped dried apricots or dried mango or craisons, 1/4 cup of fresh or dried wild rose petals, dandelion flowers, 1 tablespoon dried organic lavender, or a pinch of dried cardamon. I recently came across a ‘salt and pepper shortbread’. I’ll try it out and let you know how it went.