20 March 2014

Shortbread

Shortbread is in my blood. Not literally of course; if we are talking literally, then shortbread is in my stomach. What I actually mean is that I am three eights Scottish (yes, my dad worked out my heritage to the eighths one summer holiday in Guernsey) and so some may say I am destined for shortbread making.


All you need is 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter (actual butter or trust me you will believe it's not butter when you see what comes out of the oven) and 3 parts plain flour. I work in ounces (either 1, 2, 3 or 2,4,6 as in these pictures) for this recipe as it was one of the first I learnt.

Traditional Shortbread

Using a wooden spoon, mix the butter and sugar until combined (ish). You may need to stab (or cut) big lumps of butter. Do not panic if the mixture is mere crumbs.

Now add in the flour bit. by bit. I repeat do not panic. I promise you it will work. Towards the end you will need to get your hands dirty to smoosh it all together in to a ball. If your dough really will not hold itself together, then add a wee tablespoon of water and attempt smooshing again.

Making shortbread may seem very unnatural if you have only made cookies and cakes, but your dough needs to just hold together. It' going to be crumbly, but it will happen.

Once your dough has come together, sprinkle your surface and rolling pin with caster sugar before rolling out until your dough is approximately 1cm thick. Cut out shapes as you wish. Try and squeeze in as many shapes the first time round as possible. Any excess can be rolled again, but the more you roll, the drier the dough gets so the less likely it is to stay in one piece!


You can also roll out with flour, but this may dry the dough out further and if you don't remove excess  flour you will taste it when the shortbread comes out of the oven. Sprinkle with caster sugar before you pop them in the oven to achieve the desired golden crisp.




Bake at 170 degrees until your shortbread is just turning golden. This should be after about 10-12 minutes. Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool.


I used my new glass cake stand to display the shortbread with some cookies. I often find it hard to present biscuits and cookies, but I wanted to do something for the running club committee meeting. I put piles of biscuits under the dome with a few other bits... not so shabby if I say so myself?

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