Loving the alliteration probably a bit too much but this shortbread recipe really is super simple and unbelievably versatile.
Once you’ve mastered the basic technique you can add a whole host of flavours to the recipe to jazz it up a little.
This recipe is actually one Darina Allen taught us at Ballymaloe (http://cookingisfun.ie/) and it’s tried and tested and dare I say…. fool proof?
Best thing about it, is you just put everything in the food processor and whizz it up. Darina’s recipe says to do it by hand, but I’m nearly always in a hurry when I make these and the food processor is super quick and easy…and I love a good shortcut. Obviously, if you are less slothful than I am of course feel free to make them by hand!
(If you choose to do it by hand (pause for applause), just pop your flour into a large mixing bowl and rub in the soft butter, then add the caster sugar and work the mixture to form a stiff dough)
These freeze-dried raspberries are amazing; they kind of fizz on your tongue, and go perfectly with the zing from the lemon.
You only need three ingredients for the shortbread and the best thing is they will (most likely) be things you already have at home. So there’s no excuse not to try baking them right now!
- 175 g Plain Flour
- 110 g Soft Butter (make sure it’s nice and soft – not straight from the fridge)
- 50g CASTER sugar (not granulated)
- 3 Tablespoons freeze dried raspberries (I found mine in Waitrose)
- Zest of one large unwaxed lemon
- As always with baking the first thing you need to do is preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas.
- Start trying to turn the oven on automatically when you're cooking – putting things into an already hot oven will honestly make the world of difference to your cooking.
- Pop the flour soft butter, and caster sugar into the food processor and whizz.
- STOP whizzing AS SOON as the mixture comes together (otherwise the shortbread will be tough and we don’t want a tough cookie.. in this instance). This will literally take 9.86 seconds (approximately).
- Tip your crumb mixture out onto your clean work surface.
- This is the stage where I add my freeze dried raspberries and lemon zest (or whichever flavour you have chosen).
- Give the mixture a gentle squeeze so that it comes together and begins to look like dough
- Then smoosh it out flat – with a rolling pin ideally but you can use your hands or that bottle of wine you’ve got to hand. You want to avoid working the mixture too much with your hands, as this is what will make it tough. Try to be light with your fingers…. I like to call them fairy fingers. "A delicate touch makes a delicate biscuit" (Anon...okay me). You want to avoid working the mixture too much with your hands, as this is what will make it tough.
- Roll/smoosh the dough out to about 1/ 2 cm thickness and cut into shapes – use any cutter you like – if you don’t have a cutter, I have found that the top of a glass/egg cup/cap off a bottle work very well.
- Carefully place them on a baking tray.
- Cook in the oven for 6-10mins, or until pale golden…trust me these do not taste good when they are burnt so you do need to keep a bit of an eye on them. Once you've cooked them a few times you will get to know how long they take in you oven, as maddeningly all ovens vary quite a bit.
- Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
For an extra touch of glamour – I sprinkled mine with some more caster sugar when they came out of the oven to add a bit of sugary crunch. A wise man once said you can never have too much sugar…and I choose to believe him. His whereabouts are unknown.
Eat on their own with a mug of tea, or they are great served on the side of a pudding like a little chocolate mousse. I served mine with the Ginger Crème Brulee’s
Why not try adding a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg for delicious Christmassy biscuits, or dip them in melted white chocolate, or add some dried cranberries…or add dried cranberries AND dip them in white chocolate…heaven.