Catholic Recipe: Scotch Shortbread
The Scotch prefer to celebrate the New Year on the first Monday in January. This day is known in that country as Handsel Monday, a word derived from an Anglo-Saxon phrase meaning a gift given by hand. Especially among rural workers it is a popular holiday. The farmers give them on that morning a huge breakfast of meats both roasted and boiled, with ale and whiskey to wash it down, and a fine cake to follow. Shortbread invariably appears on the table. No work is done on that day, but everyone goes visiting friends after the meal, partly no doubt to show a holiday spirit but doubtless also to work off the heaviness that follows so unusual an intake of food.
Beat the butter until soft and gradually add the sugar. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and work into the butter mixture with the hands. A tablespoon of vanilla or some freshly ground nutmeg may also be added. Knead the dough well until no cracks appear. Roll it out to the thickness of 1/4 inch and cut into squares or any desired shape. Bake on a greased sheet at 375° F. for about twenty minutes.Recipe Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951