Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Project Cookie, Some Fantastic Shortbread, & Sergeant First Class Ted Ryan

How do you pay off a life debt? One so meaningful that it changed the course of a life forever. Well in my case, with cookies. My Army buddy Ted is back in Iraq and I’m welcoming his return to the land of sun, sand, and insanity with some shortbread.

Several years ago I was going through some pretty painful and dangerous times in my last year of service and as a new civilian. I tried not to let it show, to be strong, and yet Ted always seemed to show up in those very important pivotal moments, when something life changing was about to happen and I needed a push. Because of his strength and influence, I have a happy and much safer life today. Ted is my own personal hero.

What I’m hoping for is that you’ll send Ted a little something too. I’m calling this “Project Cookie”, and I would be grateful if you could pitch in to bring a smile to the face of one heck of a friend and a very honorable Non-Commissioned Officer. Send cookies, send a card, send a joke, a favorite book, or anything to let him know he is cared about as he readjusts to life in the hot lane.

And thank-you. So much. This is going to be a lot of fun! Just tell him Laura Flowers sent you.

You can send mail to Ted at:
SFC Ryan, Theodore T.
C Trp, 1-14 CAV, 3-2 SBCT
FOB Caldwell, APO, AE 09324

Scotch Shortbread
Printer Version
This shortbread needs to rest in the refrigerator and bake three separate times, but it’s worth it! The only shortcut is using a food processor to mix everything together.

1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
½ cup tapioca flour, or tapioca starch, or cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, warmed slightly
½ cup super fine sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons sparkling white sugar (I got mine at Michael’s)


1. Line a 9” square baking pan with foil.

2. Place the all purpose flour, tapioca flour or corn starch and salt in a food processor and process for about 30 seconds until mixed and fluffed. Move the flour mixture to a separate bowl and set aside.

3. Place the butter and super fine sugar in the food processor and process until light and fluffy. Add half of the flour mixture back in and process until combined. Add the other half of the flour mixture and process just until almost wet looking but not combined.

4. Turn the batter out onto a clean surface and knead just until the dough is smooth. Press the dough into the baking pan and smooth with the back of a dough scraper. Sprinkle cookies with coarse sparkling sugar.

5. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 2 or more hours. After resting, place the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees.

6. Bake One: Bake the shortbread for 55 minutes. Let rest for about 5 minutes then cut into squares in the pan with the dough scraper. Leave the shortbread in the pan and the oven on during this time.

7. Bake Two: Place the pan back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes and then move the foil with the cookies to a baking sheet. Separate the cookies a little.

8. Bake Three: Bake the cookies on the sheet for 10 more minutes. Let cool on the pan for a few minutes and move to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Recipe & photograph by Laura Flowers.


Patricia @ ButterYum said...

Neat recipe, and even neater idea. How nice of you to honor your "personal hero" in this way!

Heather S-G said...

Those are some tasty little morsels. And this is wonderful...what a great way to bring joy to someone!

Anonymous said...

Nothing like some beautiful food to make someones day!!!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

You're doing a really sweet thing for this fellow. I'll be sure to send something soon.

Joyce said...

I also belong to a cookie baking group for soldiers and also anysoldier.com and military moms. I will certainly send a postcard out to your friend.

EMC said...

Count me in on this project! Fantastic shortbread!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Thank-you Linda, and Joyce, and Erin.

Thanks Kim and Patricia.

I am lucky to have you ladies on my side!

Fallon said...

awww! He will love the cookies. My boyfriend in Iraq as well till next April. I just baked him a large brownie for his birthday. I hope it will arrive alright!

I will keep your friend in my prayers!

Coleens Recipes said...

How cool is this? I've often wanted to send a little something to a soldier, but felt funny about it. This is neat!!

Anonymous said...

Looks amazing!

Karine said...

That person will probable be really happy with these shortbreads! They look delicious :)

The Cooking Photographer said...

I hope your brownie arrived safely Fallon!

Thanks Coleen this is always a lot of fun. I hope you get the chance to have fun with this too. :)

Thank-you Heavenly Housewife and Karine.

Jamie said...

Laura, how is it that I didn't know you were military! I have so much respect for people like you and Ted (and my good friend Bobbi's son gets back from Iraq today!!!!!)

This is a wonderful gesture and I'll see what I can do. It as amazing when we have someone like Ted in our lives.

Donna-FFW said...

I bet he will be thrilled to receive this, I know I would. They sound wonderful!

Mary Bergfeld said...

How wonderful to have a friend who could support you in difficult times.
I'm sure he'll love shortbread and the support you give him now.

Dina said...

i love shortbread! these look great. and a nice tribute too. i was just reading in a Martha Stewart magazine that you can't send baked goods to people you don't know in the military...just fyi!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Thanks Dina, I didn't know that. Hopefully since they will have my name as a reference they'll be ok. I'll warn Ted.

Thanks again.

La Table De Nana said...

My little note is ready to be posted tomorrow:) Thank you for this recipe and the Molasses cookies:)!That's a sweet idea~ little notes from here and there.~

Chef Fresco said...

Aww that is so sweet. What a great friend. These look amazing :)

La Table De Nana said...

I would love an update?:) How is he?

Amelia PS said...

sounds wonderful

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