Shortbread cooling. My mother-in-law's recipe, via a really-truly Scottish neighbor. Must mix by hand, no mechanicals allowed.

Stacked up and ready to be boxed.

Honestly, my first-time ever making holiday cookies, and I'm a neophyte when it comes to the understanding of how many tins you will need, whether round or square works best, and the cost and sad aesthetics of store-bought tins. But no going down the road of making my own boxes and decorating them. I have a book from the library that gives recipes and directions for amazingly labor-intensive packaging. Who has the time to cut a template, make a box, and decorate it? I was regretting even the time I lost in reading the directions.

But what a sense of achievment to bake cookies. The smell of baking sugar, the unbaked dough, the warm crumbs, tea and fresh-baked shortbread.

The recipe? 3 cups of flour, 2 cups of cornstarch, a heaping cup of confectioners sugar, a pound of butter. Mix it with your hands until a dough forms. Press it into a jelly roll pan, prick all over with a fork, and bake for about 45 min. at 325 degrees. Remove from oven. Cut, while in pan, into rectangular cookies. Return to oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Cover with foil for last baking if the top has started to brown.