Back to basics: Brown sugar shortbread

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As I’ve written about before, there are different ways to make the baking world’s most basic baked good: shortbread.

I like my regular shortbread recipe, and it’s pretty basic and easy to bake (press it into a pan and bake – cut into slabs when done).

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But my friend Jane gave me a brown sugar shortbread recipe that has even fewer ingredients and can easily be rolled out and cut into desired shapes. I don’t usually have the patience for the rolling-and-cutting rigmarole, but this year I decided I’d go for a few.

I cut a few trees and a few stars. I used some raspberry jam in small indentations on the trees; I used some lemon curd in small indentations on the stars. These were popular – and they’re nice because they have a very different crisp but not too crispy texture. And they turned out to look very simple and beautiful.