Shortbread

Shortbread

By
From
How I cook
Makes
9–12 pieces
Photographer
Jason Lowe

Shortbread is made using just four ingredients – butter, sugar, flour and vanilla extract – and the secret lies in the quality of these ingredients. Buy very good unsalted butter and the best vanilla extract you can afford. Delicate and buttery, crumbly and light, shortbread is delectable served alongside poached or roasted fruit, or vanilla ice cream. But arguably, nothing surpasses the pleasure of nibbling on shortbread in the late afternoon with a good pot of tea.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
230g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar, plus extra to dust
1 tsp vanilla extract
500g plain flour (unbleached), plus extra to dust

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Beat the butter in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Stir in the sugar and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Now incorporate the flour, a third at a time, mixing again until the dough is smooth after each addition.
  2. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and flatten to a round, no more than 1cm thick. If you prefer, shape into individual shortbreads, using a biscuit cutter. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. If making a large shortbread – as I’m more inclined to do – mark into pieces with a sharp knife, cutting only 3mm into the surface of the dough. Carefully transfer to a baking tray.
  4. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 8–10 minutes until the shortbread is pale golden and buttery. Leave on the baking tray for a minute or two, then transfer to a wire rack. While still warm, dust the surface with sugar and carefully break into pieces along the indentations. Store in an airtight container until needed – the shortbread will keep for up to a week.
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