Monday, 16 January 2012

Special Shortbread Biscuits

Recipe Number One Hundred & Forty Five:  Page 234.

I consider shortbread to be a real treat and something to be savoured. I often enjoy it over the Christmas period; I find it an ideal time to indulge in some rich buttery shortbread! It did feel a little over indulgent to make some just after the festive season. I have no excuse other than that I just fancied it!

I'm such a fan of shortbread; it amazes me how something so delicious can be made out of just three ingredients. I already had everything needed in stock, which makes a nice change! It was a glorious day, so I felt a little disappointed that a trip to the shop wasn't necessary. Not wanting to miss out on the sunshine, we decided a walk around the village was in order. Our little boy insisted on walking, so we didn't progress at a fast pace but it didn't matter, there was no rush. We were glad we made the effort to go for a wander as a bright green shiny tractor trundled past and made Isaac's day! We arrived home with rosy cheeks and icy fingers; it was a relief to get back into the warm. Some shortbread and a hot mug of tea would make for an ideal afternoon treat – I just needed to make it first!

I retrieved the plain flour from the top of the fridge. I use every spare inch of space to store my ingredients! Once the flour was in the bowl I added in some light muscovado sugar. I'd never considered using anything other than caster before, so I wondered what difference a darker sugar would make. Last of all I measured in the butter. I was surprised not to be using more; it didn't seem very much in comparison to the other ingredients. First of all I rubbed the butter into the flour and sugar and then attempted to work it all together to form a ball. However, the dough had other ideas. It was so dry and crumbly – my ball kept falling apart! To avoid adding more flour and potentially making things even drier, I rolled the dough out on greaseproof paper to prevent it from sticking. It really was hard work as the dough kept breaking and this made me rather fraught! I admit that I'm not used to rolling out shortbread; I normally press it straight into the tin. I think I know which method I prefer! Finally it was time to cut out the biscuits. My cutter was a little larger than the two inches Mary suggests, so I didn't make anywhere near the suggested amount. Maybe that was a blessing! I placed the fragile shortbread biscuits onto two baking trays and pricked all over with a fork. For an added crunch, and of course sweetness, I sprinkled some Demerara sugar over the top. This made the biscuits appear even darker. My full trays went into the oven where they stayed for about twenty minutes. One tray of biscuits ended up a little over done; I always manage to burn my biscuits!

After a few minutes cooling on a wire rack the shortbread was ready to be tried, hooray! They were very tasty and the light muscovado sugar offered a hint of toffee to the biscuits. The texture was very short and they crumbled in the mouth. I was a bit cross with myself for over cooking a handful of biscuits, as they were too crunchy! Although I was pleased with the outcome I prefer the lighter flavour of caster sugar in shortbread and I think they look prettier too.
The dark side of Shortbread!!! ;-)

VARIATION: Cherry Shortbread Biscuits

For this recipe the sprinkling of Demerara sugar was omitted. Chopped cherries are used in its place.

This was an easy variation to follow but the cherries stuck to my fingers as I tried to press them into place!!

A very tasty variation and I have to say I preferred it to the original. The cherries made the biscuits a little bit chewy and lovely and sweet. I may be a little bit biased as I ADORE glacé cherries!


  1. these look tasty, I've made previosly Mary Berry very best shortbread recipe, may try this one out.

  2. You're really kind - thank you Julieta. I love Mary's Very Best Shortbread recipe. It's my very favourite. xx

  3. I've just had the same problem with the crumbliness of the dough. I did note though that the proportions of ingredients were not quite the same if you used the imperial measures - 6oz (175g) of flour, 3oz (75g)sugar which means less flour to butter/sugar if you use ounces!