As I stamped them out, they looked perfect – little hearts with fluted edges. A usually-uncooperative shortbread dough was behaving well…a little too well, maybe.
I put them in the oven nervously. This is the part that makes me tense. I hate the oven. It’s fickle and so easy to mess up – we’re not friends.
And before long, they started to brown. Shortbreads aren’t supposed to brown! Too much butter! I cut them too thin! Everything was wrong.
They turned out hard and crispy, not flaky and tender like shortbreads should.
Nonetheless, they got devoured by a gracious family, who insisted they were delicious. They were, but I knew in my heart they weren’t perfect. I was mad. I had been careless. Baking was supposed to be a thing I was good at.
A week later, the cookies were gone, burning up in our bellies. I’ll remember my mistake, try not to make it again, add it to my list of failures and almost-failures, and be glad that it’s really hard to make a cookie taste bad.