Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Shortbread Biscuits

My first recipe is for easy shortbread biscuits. I love this recipe because it is _very_ easy, it's quick, it's forgiving, you can ring the changes by adding different ingredients, and the biscuits always taste great (in fact, the uncooked mixture also tastes great...)

Shortbread Biscuits

Makes: 12-24, depends how big you make 'em!
Takes: 5-10 mins preparation + 20 mins cooking time


3 oz caster sugar
7 oz butter or margarine (I use buttery spread)
9 oz plain flour

  1. Cream together the sugar and butter till light and fluffy. An electric mixer is best for this; you can do it by hand but it's quite hard work by the time you've mixed in the flour too.
  2. Sift in the flour and stir then beat till the mixture comes together in a soft dough. It might start off a bit crumbly but it will come together if you keep mixing.
  3. You can refrigerate the dough at this point (for a couple of hours or overnight) so it firms up slightly, but it's fine to use straight away. If you want to roll it out then refrigerating will probably help.
  4. Either roll out to a thickness of about 5mm on a well-floured surface then use cutters to cut out your biscuits, or break off little balls of dough and flatten to about 5mm thick. I usually do the latter as it's quicker and I like the homemade look, but it's nice to cut Christmassy shapes or hearts or the kids' initials for special occasions.
  5. Place the biscuits on a lightly greased baking tray and bake at 180oC (fan oven) till the edges start to brown. (It takes about 20 minutes. I forgot about my batch today - the ones in the photo - and they got 30 minutes, which is why they look quite brown! Still delicious, just crunchier.)
  6. Cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes then cool completely on a wire rack. Try not to eat them while they're hot, you will burn your mouth. Don't say I didn't warn you...
Store in an airtight container - they'll keep for a few days but probably won't last that long!


You can add raisins, chocolate chips, chopped cherries, Smarties/M&Ms etc to the mixture after step 2. Or sift in spices (eg cinnamon, ginger, mixed spice) with the flour - adding ground ginger here then chopped ginger after step 2 is delicious! I use a jar of ginger preserved in syrup (not the whole jar!!) You could add grated lemon zest and juice of 1 lemon after step 1, and increase the flour to 10 oz. Or mix in desiccated coconut and chopped glace cherries. Or some oats and raisins. Or replace a tablespoon or so of flour with the same amount of cocoa powder. Or... So many ideas!!

Here are some with chocolate chips added, and some where 1 oz of flour was replaced with 1 oz of cocoa powder, and white chocolate chunks were added. I spooned heaps of the mixture onto the baking sheet, keeping them quite rough and fairly thick, and only aiming to make about 8 large cookies. They needed about 30 minutes to cook because of the added thickness.

Also, these biscuits ice really well (though I'd use the rolled out and cut version, as they have a smooth top surface!). Just sift some icing sugar and mix with hot water to make a fairly stiff icing, adding any colours or flavours you wish, then spread over the cooled biscuits. You can add chocolate or sugar sprinkles, jelly sweets, etc, etc, before the icing sets. Or add cocoa powder to the icing sugar for chocolate icing.

Enjoy :-)