|My father, Gwen, me and my mom.|
This year, my mother’s birthday fell on Mother’s Day, and we were delighted to have her come and spend a few days with us.
So what’s my mom like? Let me tell you some things we share and one thing we don’t:
- She loves to travel. I guess you know that I do, too. My mom’s favourite trip was the one she took to Greece with her sister, my Aunt Barbara. But she also loved our family trip (in the tent trailer) to the Canadian Maritime provinces when I was about eleven.
- My mom loves to read. She recently told me that she bought my first books before I was born. (I know that’s common now, but much less usual in the 1960s.) With her help, I learned to read before I started school.
- She loves to bake. When she came to visit us this weekend, she brought some of her own baking to share. I definitely inherited her sweet tooth.
- We both grew up on farms. I think that's helped both of us recognize the importance of hard work, especially in pursuit of a goal.
- My mom loves jigsaw puzzles, and we usually pull out at least one when she’s here. This time she brought a 500-piece puzzle, which is currently spread out on our dining room table. I’m not particularly good at jigsaws – I lack both the patience and the good eyesight they require – but I gamely helped solve the edge pieces before giving way to my mother and youngest daughter, the true puzzle champions.
Something else my mom loves is nuts in baking. Anything with pecans, macadamia nuts or walnuts are her biggest temptations. I loved baking these for Mother’s Day for my mom, Joyce Baker.
And this morning I received the most amazing gift – the girls wrote a song for me! They both sang it while my oldest daughter played the guitar. Beautiful!
Happy Mother’s Day!
(adapted from California Walnut Commission)
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup corn starch
½ cup icing sugar
½ cup cocoa
½ tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
¼ cup honey
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla or rum extract
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8” x 8” pan with parchment paper.
Shortbread: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, corn starch, icing sugar, cocoa and salt. Add softened butter and mix, using hands, until mixture is moist and crumbly. Press firmly over prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
Filling: Combine butter, brown sugar, honey and salt in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Once bubbling stops, stir in heavy cream and vanilla or rum extract. Stir in walnuts. Pour over shortbread base, spreading walnuts evenly. Pack firmly. Turn down oven temperature to 300°F and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
Remove carefully from oven (filling will be very loose, but will set as it cools). Let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Once completely cooled, lift out of pan, cut into squares or triangles and serve. Store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to one week.