Funfetti shortbread

Let's talk about celebration.

Sprinkles come at a time when it feels necessary to throw one's hands up in the air and shout "party!" How is that the slight addition of multi-colored bits of sugar can us feel so special? Sprinkles cause the clapping of hands and jumping up-and-down of a 23-year-old Libra alone in her kitchen. They are cute, they are very fun. 

Besides, there are several things to celebrate.  Six months in LA, the up-and-coming launch with Salted, and a red-eye leaving tomorrow (!!!) back east (!!!) to see my long distance love.  Oh, and for the potential airline travel wait, I've downloaded A Little Princess onto my Kindle. 

The protagonist, Sarah Crewe, was a storyteller and self-declared princess, wowing her faithful audiences with tales of leathery skinned elephants and the pleasant strum of an evening mandolin.   I have a hardcover version of the book hiding somewhere, still maintaining it's magic since I first digested Sarah's story several years ago.

When it comes to cookies and classic storybooks (the ones with crackly spins and pages that smell like glue), I always think of shortbread. I used to call shortbread, "Grandma cookies" because I envisioned them as the type of a cookie an afghan-owning woman would snack on as she poured herself a second glass of Irish Breakfast Tea. They would crumble with each bite, and were eaten on the front porch.

Now, however, I see shortbread differently. It cannot fit into one category. Like a story, it's universal, and melts into several of life's occasions. Shortbread is simple, and sometimes sneaky. Shortbread can be a snack. It can be breakfast. It can be eaten in a nearly-black kitchen late at night, paired with a glass of cold milk and the glow from the light in the fridge.

In every sense, it is very much romantic. If  I hadn't already slid funfetti into the title, I might call it "storybook shortbread." 

The few ingredients make it simple; the sprinkles make it special. It tastes like butter and coconut and looks like a celebration. Eating it, especially eating it while packing my travel dress, is just enough of a reason to say "party."

funfetti shortbread

1/2 cup softenend butter

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup sugar

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup funfetti sprinkles

 

 

 

 

Preheat the oven to 300.

Using a hand-mixer, combine the oil, butter, sugar, and vanilla until thoroughly mixed. Add the flour and blend until the mixture resembles sand.  Stir in the sprinkles using a wooden spoon, or something like that.

Press dough into a greased 9x13 pan or two 8x8s. Use your hands to create a smooth surface, and then a fork to create tiny pricks along the top of the shortbread. 

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the shortbread are golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting. 

Drink with tea, milk, red wine, or whatever your celebrating self desires. 

 

You can taste the comfiness.

-stay cozy

Santa Barbara

One of my earliest memories consists of when I stuck my chubby baby hand into a puddle of hot tar. The recollection comes to me in senses; I remember the feel of the black putty in between my fingers, the heat of the sun on the beach house driveway, and the smell of salt and boat oil wafting with every breeze. There was a sense of peace, until someone saw what my young self was doing, and snatched up me from the driveway, wondering how on earth she was going to wash all this black gook off my wandering fingers.

Some time has gone by, but that smell tends to reoccur occasionally, surfacing in beach towns with large bays or a plethora of boats that dot the waters like seagulls. The Jersey Shore, Ocean City, and Hilton Head are some immediate examples.  It's a comforting smell, oddly enough, because it reminds me of beach vacations when I ate Life Cereal on the back porch while reading Little Critter. I didn't expect to pick up it's addictive aroma while strolling the wooden boards of Santa Barbara, but I'm glad I did. 

 My first exposure to Santa Barbara was in the movie, "It's Complicated" with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin.  i have a soft spot for these sorts of movies; they most often take place in a beautiful location like Martha's Vineyard or the Hamptons or Santa Barbara, and they feature an older strong female protagonist falling in love with an older stupid but lovable man. Another example would be Something's Gotta Give, which also features the famous Diane-Keaton-Turtleneck-Ripping scene.  (GO DIANE.)

Santa Barbara is a city painted with white-walled and red-roofed homes. The shutters open to airy lofts, where the inhabitants likely drink horchata while lounging on clean sheets.  We parked the rental car next to the Santa Barbara library, where a biker gang had stashed their motorcycles to sip coca-cola. Before lunch, Mish and I wandered into a lil Buddhist/Zen/Incense/cool jewelry shop that offered an especially Zen poodle chillin' in the front window. He looked happy and adorable. 

IMG_0147.JPG

We had lunch at a place called the Benchmark, sitting snuggly in the shade of the outdoor patio and snacking on fried chickpeas and sparkling wine. The chickpeas were stellar, as they were essentially crispy hummus, and therefore a perfect recipe. Dad was craving a pizza, and made that happen. It came in a humble circle, decorated with thick crumbles of sausages and cheese. The rest of lunch was salads for Mish and I: hers consisted of goat cheese, quinoa, zucchini, white corn, and spinach, and mine was olives, kale, prosciutto, and tomatoes. They were simple and good. 

Santa Barbara is a treat for the eyes, and filled with lots of interesting people, shops, and landscapes. Look behind you and you'll see waves of mountains, speckled with greenery, and looming into the blank sky. Then there's the houses, bustling with tourists and locals alike. And then there's the water. And the wine tasting. And the wine tasting on the water. And with so many tasting rooms to choose from, it's hard not to pick the one that offers the best view.

The wine! I liked it. The Chardonnay was warm without being oaky, tasting like unsalted butter. The pinot noir was like sweet, raw cherries and the cab reminded me of cola.  In the tasting room, there were families both with children old enough to drink and with smaller kiddos swapping vino for Cotton Candy gelato. I would have enjoyed both, but there was only so much time (!!!!)

(Side note: love my parents. My dad and I have scary similarities; we both laugh at videos of people falling down, we have ideas for coffee table books, and we're in love with RVs.  My mother and I should not be left alone with each other and our wallets, especially an Anthropologie or Williams and Sonoma, as we will purchase the entire store. They're really good people.)

In other news, the weekend is not over (!!!!!!!!!) and after this post I'll be plunging into a music festival dress for all-day Sunday shenanigans with some JMU grads.  Not sure what the musical line-up entails, but I've been feeling especially folk-y. And thinking about love and romance and all those crazy brain synapses. 

I also am really hoping to see The Hundred Foot Journey and Boyhood in the near future. 

These chocolate espresso cakes with soft centers remind me of a grown-up TastyKake. 

Countdown to VA! I love the West Coast, but when it's been sixth months since you've seen your childhood home, the cravings start to kick in.  Humidity, fireflies, and Ketel One is just a few itty bitty weeks away! 

-stay cozy