Shortbread is a wonderful thing done well.
With its crumbly melt-in-the-mouth texture, this supposedly Scottish classic is also very simple to make and versatile. If you follow this simple sweet shortbread recipe, you can adjust the amount of sugar to suit yourself or the fillings you add. Here are some suggestions:
- Vanilla – omit 5g of butter and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Cardamom – open 12 green cardamom pods, crush into a powder and add to the flour
- Coffee – add 1 teaspoon of instant espresso powder and add to the dough
- Chocolate chips – stud the dough with chocolate chips before baking
- Sultanas – mix in about 50g of sultanas to the dough.
- Citrus zest – add the zest of 1 citrus fruit to the dough
- Cinnamon – add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the dough
- Lavender and lemon – chop 2 teaspoons of lavender and add with the zest of 1 lemon to the dough
- Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds etc – chop finely and add to the dough
The simple ratio of granulated sugar to butter to plain flour is 1:2:3. You’ll see some recipes use cornflour. Cornflour is gluten-free which aids in keeping these biscuits short and crumbly. I like to use a mixture of both of these to keep it easy and I like to add a little bit more butter for richness. Try to use salted butter, which is not normal for baking. It just adds a different background flavour.
This dough makes around 36 biscuits but the dough freezes well. Once the dough is combined, take off about half, shape into a log and wrap in clingfilm. If you want to bake some off, use a serrated knife to cut rounds about 5mm thick and bake as normal – it may need more time than stated so look out for the golden brown edges.
175g salted butter – you could also use Stork
85g granulated sugar, plus extra for dusting
185g plain flour
- Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add the flour and cornflour. Add any other accompaniments at this stage. Using a wooden spoon, bring together into a dough.
- Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 5mm thick. Cut out rounds using a pastry cutter and transfer to the tray. Sprinkle lightly over extra sugar.
- Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until the edges turn a light golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
For shortbread fingers, shape the dough into a Swiss roll tin. Using a sharp knife, lightly score the shortbread and prick each one using a fork multiple times. Sprinkle over sugar and bake until it becomes golden-brown.