Canadian Prairie Shortbread Dainties

In my family my grandmother was the baker (not my mum) grandma baked everyday. So, in the spirit of grandma’s kitchen, I happily present this recipe share from my dear friend Cory Laughlin. It has been handed down in her family for over 125 years.

Cory’s grandma LuLu Cantlon lived in Irma, Alberta. During the 1890’s, Irma was a very small town (just a hundred persons or so) way out on the Canadian prairie.

Now ‘Dainties’ are the Canadian word for cookies, which seems like both a proper description and a clever name, right? Cory’s mom, Jean Cantlon Laughlin, made these melt in your mouth Dainties with her mom Lulu, at Christmastime for years on end.

Canadian Shortbread Dainties

Keep in mind that the Franklin wood fired cook stove was the typical baking oven back then, as modern ovens didn’t come about until well into the new century. Even then, most prairie folks and pioneers still relied on wood-burners for every meal (as well as for heat!) and those Dainties are a rich prairie home delight.

My research tells me this little dessert dates back to 12 th century Scotland (from which the new world Laughlins hailed) and was considered so elegant it was served for weddings, on holidays, and used as a tasty symbol-of-the-land by Scottish farmers.

The Recipe share for December is: The Christmas Cookie, of course. Or should I say, The Christmas Dainty. And That’s the way the cookie crumbles…

1/2 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. powered sugar
1 c. flour
1 cup butter (not Margarine)
Red and green cherries for decoration

Mix dry ingredients together until well blended, add the butter, and mix by hand until smooth texture is achieved.
The dough shouldn’t be sticky, add more flour if too sticky. * I did a test bake first with two cookies, if the butter runs add more flour, they should hold up with no run off.

Roll into little one inch balls, these are rich and should be kept small. With a fork make a tine print on top of the dainty, don’t flatten them, just mark them gently.

Cut your cherries into fourths and place a sliver on top of each dainty.

Preheat oven to 300 and bake for 20-23 minutes, the bottoms should be blond not brown.
Merry Christmas