Today I’m excited to partner with Fair Trade USA to celebrate Mother’s Day through their Moms Make a World of Difference efforts. Today’s post is full of goodies, including a delicious recipe for the Fair Trade Brunch, a really awesome giveaway, and the story of a mother in Rwanda who’s life has been improved thanks to fair trade practices. I studied international relations and women’s studies in college and these issues have long been dear to my heart, so I’m more than delighted to help spread the word!
Fair trade benefits all of the farmers it touches, but I can see how it is especially helpful for women. So many women in developing countries are tasked with both supporting their families monetarily and being the primary caregiver for the children. The burden can be great, but I have heard stories time and again about real women in these countries who, through fair and good employment, are able to not only provide for their families financially but also spend more time with their children.
As I started looking through the Moms Make a World of Difference website, this quote from Mukantelina Soline, a mom and coffee farmer in Rwanada, really stood out to me: “Growing coffee is hard work, but it is work that I love because it helps me improve the lives of my children.” Let me preface my next comment with this – I always feel incredibly blessed and grateful for my work and my situation. But that doesn’t mean that the stress of working and being the primary caregiver in our home doesn’t sometimes get to me. Even though my life and my work is different than Mukantelina’s, reading her words made me feel a kinship with her. It also made me realize that, when the stress starts to get me down, I just need to be grateful.
As I read more of Mukantelina’s story, I learned that she has three children – one in school, one who can’t go to school due to chronic illness, and a third who joins her as she works each day. By joining the Dukunde Kawa Coffee Cooperative in 2003, Mukantelina has received extra support with the processing and sale of her coffee as well as additional income. Now she spends more time with her family, and she has been able to get electricity for their home and a cow to provide milk for the family. This is why fair trade products are so amazing – when you buy these products, you know that it is making a real difference in real lives.
To prepare for the Fair Trade Brunch, Fair Trade USA sent me a box of goodies from 12 of their partner companies. SO MUCH GOODNESS. I was challenged to come up with a recipe for their online Mother’s Day brunch that uses 2 of the ingredients. I knew I had to use the Guittard chocolate because I’m completely obsessed with their chocolate (theirs are the only chocolate chips I buy and I can’t tell you how happy I am that I can finally get them at almost all grocery stores!). There was also a bag of brown muscovado sugar by India Tree that intrigued me. I thought about recipes that really feature brown sugar and shortbread immediately came to mind. And then I got cooking!
These simple shortbread cookies are, quite simply, delicious. The buttery, brown sugar flavor pairs nicely with the little punches of chocolate. These cookies would be a great addition to a brunch – a little something sweet that’s not too sweet. They are also good for just eating any old time. Like right now while I’m typing this post. (I literally just walked into the kitchen to get one!)
The winner of the giveaway was Kim, who said, “Your cookies look fabulous!” Thanks, Kim! And I hope you enjoy all your goodies (I’m sure you will)!
Before we get to the recipe, let’s do a giveaway! One of you lucky, randomly-selected people will win the same goodie box that I received. Here is what you’ll get! Whole Foods $25 gift card Guittard Semi-Sweet Etienne Baking Bars barkTHINS Snacking Chocolate sweetriot Dark Chocolate Quirky Quinoa Crunch bar Frontier Ceylon Cinnamon India Tree Brown Muscovado Sugar Allegro Coffee Café La Dueña (these coffee beans are seriously the yummiest thing I have smelled EVER.) Nutiva Coconut Oil and O’Coconut treats prAna Vanessa Scarf Numi Chocolate Rooibos Tea Choice Organic Green Moroccan Mint Tea Honest Tea Half & Half Tea with Lemonade Here is how to enter the giveaway! (All comments must be posted by midnight PT on Sunday, May 11 and prize must be shipped to a U.S. address.) Simply leave a comment on this post! Easy peasy! Bonus entry: Like Fair Trade USA on Facebook (leave a separate comment stating you followed to get the extra entry; if you already do, that counts!) Bonus entry: Follow Fair Trade USA on Pinterest (leave a separate comment stating you followed to get the extra entry; if you already do, that counts!) Bonus entry: Like This Week for Dinner on Facebook (leave a separate comment stating you followed to get the extra entry; if you already do, that counts!) Bonus entry: Follow This Week for Dinner on Pinterest (leave a separate comment stating you followed to get the extra entry; if you already do, that counts!)
Now, let’s make some yummy shortbread!
- 1 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup India Tree Fair Trade Brown Muscovado Sugar
- 2¼ cup all-purpose flour
- Pinch kosher salt (optional)
- 2 ounces Guittard Semi-Sweet Baking bar, chopped into small pieces
- Preheat oven to 325ºF.
- Cream butter and brown sugar together on medium-high speed in a stand mixer for about 3 minutes with the paddle attachment. Scrape down bowl.
- Add 1½ cups of the flour and a pinch of salt (if using). Beat with paddle attachment on medium speed until fully incorporated.
- Set aside the paddle attachment and switch to the dough hook.
- Add the rest of the flour (3/4 cup) and mix on medium-low speed with the dough hook, kneading the dough in the mixer for about 5 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.
- Switch back to the paddle attachment and add chocolate chunks. Mix on medium speed until chocolate is mixed in completely.
- Roll dough out on a floured surface to about ½-inch thick. Using a round or flower-shaped metal cookie cutter about 2 inches wide, cut cookies and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. (If you run into a chocolate chunk with the cookie cutter, just push hard right through the chocolate.) Prick the tops of the cookies with a fork.
- Form leftover dough into a ball and roll back out to ½-inch thick and repeat process until you've cut all the dough into cookies.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bottoms of cookies are light golden brown.
- Makes about 26 2-inch cookies.