Shortbread Buttons

call the midwifeStepping back in time has its rewards. As I watch Call the Midwife, a distant cry from Life on Mars, I am reminded at how much modern medicine has helped mothers bear children. This I am grateful for.

Based during the 1950’s around a nursing convent in a poor district of London’s East End, the mood of this drama is sentimental and nostalgic. Vanessa Redgrave’s velvet voice as a mature Jenny Lee recounts stories of the past. The dreamy lighting casts a glow on the young characters. The highlights in their eyes radiate purity. All the details in the sets including the china used for drinking tea to the red lipstick the nurse midwives wear to match their red cardigan is appropriately fitting. I’m hooked.

There is solidarity among the women who convey sisterly love and it is quite heartwarming to see them help each other in times of need. Camille or Chummy (Miranda Hart) is clumsy and awkward at first, but find her to be the most amusing of the bunch. I think I laughed throughout Series 1 Episode 2, the first time her character was introduced. Her timing is impeccable.

Along with the childbearing screams, the close up views of babies being born are rather realistic and fairly beautiful. No room for romanticizing childbirth. The stories each episode brings are thought provoking and the characters that come to life leave me weepy too. It’s probably a good thing I only watch when Odd is traveling.

DSC09215When watching British drama, I feel compelled to have a cup of tea and biscuits, a light snack to embrace the era. So here is a recipe for simple and comforting shortbread cookies. I like to shape them into buttons because babies are cute as buttons, aren’t they?

Shortbread Cookies

Makes about 36 small cookies

8 ounces or 1 cup butter, room temperature

4 ounces or 1/2 cup granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

12 ounces or 1 1/2 cups flour

Pinch of salt


I don’t own a mixer so I tend to do things the old-fashioned way. If you have a mixer, go ahead and use it. If not, join me and use a wooden spoon to cream the butter and sugar together, until light and fluffy.

DSC09267I guess I switched to a metal spoon but a wooden spoon works too. Add vanilla.

DSC09156Mix in flour and salt.

DSC09160Use your hands to have it come together. Try not to over mix.

DSC09162Take half the dough. Gently roll out with a rolling pin and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Re-roll scraps and make more cut outs. Continue with the other half of dough. Place on a parchment lined cookie tray.

DSC09164I poked 4 holes using chopsticks to make buttons and placed them in the refrigerator for 20 – 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

DSC09189Bake in oven for 12 – 16 minutes, or until pale golden brown around the edges, rotating the cookie tray halfway through baking.

DSC09194For variety, I sprinkled some stars with brown sugar and topped some with chocolate chips before baking.

DSC09260If you want you can melt some chocolate chips and pipe “thread” over the button holes.

DSC09257Make a tray and share the joy.

With over 10 million viewers in the UK alone, I know they are onto something good. I am only able to watch Call the Midwife up to Season 2, but I hear that Season 3 has already aired, Season 4 will air in 2015 and talks of Season 5 is slated for 2016. Oh, there will be lots of baking under my roof.



2 thoughts on “Shortbread Buttons

  1. Just ate lunch and wanted something sweet. Of course, nothing in the house. Now I want some shortbread!!! Darn you, Vernie! BTW – I think we watched season 3 online thru PBS. Not sure if that’s an option for you.


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