We all know someone who can seemingly cook everything under the sun. No matter if it's a simple dish or a big meal, they put it all together with ease and grace. I have several of these kind of women in my life, all of whom I hope to feature on Cora & Louise in due time.
One woman I've been admiring for her kitchen expertise & hospitality for quite some time is Cindy Bailey. People who know Cindy can attest to her culinary know-how, inviting heart and love for Turkish tea. I’m not alone in my observations or love for Cindy, my friends Paige & Jessie spoke of her spirit of hospitality as well.
"Cindy has taught me the value of making one’s home a place where people feel welcome and full. Full bellies and full hearts,” said Jessie. "There are few people who understand my love of eating food, making food, serving food, watching food TV and reading about food, but Cindy is a kindred spirit in that way.”
"Unlike any other person I know, Cindy has created a home that is welcoming & peaceful through her pleasant hospitality and incredible food. I always feel like I'm at my own home when I'm at the Bailey residence. It's a one-of-a-kind trait she possesses,” said Paige.
When Cindy chose a recipe to make for C&L I was anticipating something mildly difficult, ethnically diverse, and all together out of my league. But she surprised me. We made her mother's shortbread cookies. A recipe she grew up eating and watching her mom, Bette, bake regularly.
"She made them so much she didn't even have to think about it," Cindy said. "She didn't think she was a great cook, but she was a great dessert maker."
No surprise, desserts were a staple in their home. Bette always had cookies on hand to serve with coffee to ladies from church who would stop by. Bette would also bake a big batch of her shortbread cookies every couple weeks to send with her husband to work. According to Cindy, they made him famous at work and very popular with all of the guys.
Cindy’s same heart for loving people, hosting, and baking delicious treats has a clear origin back to the woman who raised her. After all this time, the shortbread recipe still finds itself in Cindy’s kitchen, on her mom’s recipe card. And I'm reminded time and time again that it doesn't taken an extravagant or fussy recipe to show people you care — it can be as simple as just butter, flour & a little sugar.
- 2 sticks butter
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 2 1/2 c. flour
- Cream butter, add sugar gradually & beat until light.
- Add flour gradually. Mix well.
- Divide dough in half. Pat out in circles (on un-greased cookie sheet). Press until firm.
- Prick with fork to make cookie shapes.
- Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
- Cool & cut immediately when removed from oven.
- Store in tins or airtight container for up to a week. (Cindy says these taste best after a few days!)