There’s lots of recipes for shortbread out there and I reckon I’ve probably tried them all. But after many failures, including tasteless, over-cooked, over-worked, dry biscuits, I have finally found the perfect recipe for shortbread. The sort of shortbread that tastes buttery, but isn’t too crumbly and not too sweet. There’s no rice flour in this one, I know that’s a popular ingredient, but I don’t like the inconsistent texture it gives. To get that store-bought crumble, you need to use icing sugar and have cornflour in the mix… but it has to be just the right amount. And whether you use regular salted butter or prefer to use unsalted butter, just be sure to make sure there is some salt in there otherwise the flavour won’t be rich and balanced. As with anything sweet, a sprinkle of salt tips the scales for a more palateable sweetness.
I got this recipe from an old Martha Stewart Christmas cookie recipe book. She puts cranberries in hers but I’m not about to ruin a good shortbread with fruit. I do however pop a bit of chocolate in mine sometimes. I’ve also added cornflour into the flour ratio. Unlike other shortbread recipes that ask you to whizz everything up in the processor, this recipe works more like a traditional cookie dough – in that you work with softened butter and mix till combined. No need to refridgerate the dough before baking. I’ve got the best results from baking in a big slab in a baking tray, then slicing it up while still warm into bars; perfect for dunking.
Crumbly Christmas Shortbread Recipe
225g salted butter (softened)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornflour
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
(chocolate chips optional)
Put the dry ingredients into the mixer or a bowl and blend well.
Add butter and vanilla, and mix until combined… use a little water if you need to bind the dough.
Press into a lined baking dish. Bake till golden.
Slice into bars while still warm.