Shortbread is really easy to whip up when you are running low on time but still craving a spot of baking. I love making shortbread as gifts. I wrap it up in cellophane with a pretty ribbon and this always goes down well! My mum provided me with her best shortbread recipe from no other than Cooking Explained by Barbara Hammond. This book dates back to 1974, so it just proves that recipes do not always have to be modern. I have added a vanilla and milky twist to make the shortbread extra flavoursome and melt in the mouth. The best thing about this recipe is it is all in one bowl. Hurray for the minimal washing up!
Recipe (makes 24 shortbread rounds)
200g plain flour
100g caster sugar
pinch of salt
a cap full of vanilla essence
a tiny splash of milk – ½ tsp (to help combine)
(an optional item is a handful of white, dark or milk chocolate drops)
- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and knead the contents with your hands until a dough forms.
- Roll out the dough until about ½ inch thick on a floured surface. A trick is not to completely coat the worktop in flour but just a light dusting is fine. You only want enough flour to stop the mixture sticking and you want to avoid changing the proportions of the dough.
- Use a 6.5 cm diameter round cutter to cut 24 rounds. Use a fork to make pretty dots on top of each biscuit.
- Place them on 3-4 baking trays, which have greaseproof paper on. This may seem pedantic to bake on so many trays but I really do recommend giving the biscuits enough room so that they do not spread out into the neighbouring shortbread. You may need to bake in two batches unless you have a gigantic oven.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 170oc for about 14 minutes until just slightly golden. Remember biscuits always firm up once baked so do not over cook them otherwise people may be getting rock cakes!
- Leave to cool.
Enjoy your shortbread! If you have cold pastry hands like me you will be laughing.