I hate to admit it, but I’m definitely turning in to my mother. For the last I-don’t-know-how-many years my mum has given people homemade shortbread as part of their Christmas presents. We’re not really big on gift-giving in my family (which makes us sound really Grinchy, but I promise we’re not) but we do believe in food and drink, so my mum always makes little food hampers as presents which I think is much nicer than getting something you don’t really want or need. Anyway, this year I’m doing the same and have been (and will be doing more!) baking presents for everyone. This also means I haven’t had to do any Christmas shopping, which I HATE, apart from nipping to the Co-op for butter and sugar. Even if you don’t want to give them as proper “presents”, it’s always nice to have something homemade to bring round when you’re visiting people over the festive period, or even just to have in your cupboard to enjoy with your hot chocolate! So, without further ado, here is mama’s tried and tested Scottish shortbread recipe…
You Will Need (makes approx 24):
225g unsalted butter
115g caster sugar
225g plain flour
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl or freestanding mixer until light and fluffy.
2. Add in the flour and cornflour through a sieve, and mix until it forms a soft dough. This will take at least 5 minutes using an electic mixer – first the mixture will turn to a breadcrumb consistency, then it will start to come together into a dough.
3. On a well floured surface, roll out the mixture to approximately half a centimetre thick and cut out the shapes. I used a Christmas tree cutter, but you could use any festive shape you like or just go for a classic round shortbread.
4. Place the shapes on a baking tray and prick each one a couple of times with a fork.
5. Put in the oven and cook for approximately 10 minutes. They are ready once the edges start to turn ever so slightly golden – don’t worry if they look quite pale when you take them out of the oven as they will continue to cook slightly once you remove them.
6. As soon as you have removed them from the oven, sprinkle some caster sugar over the shortbread along with any decorations you like – I used some edible gold stars. Leave them to cool on the trays for at least 5-10 minutes to allow them to harden, otherwise they will just crumble when you try to move them. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Probably one of the simplest recipes ever, but you can’t beat a good bit of shortbread! It’s buttery and sugary and wonderfully crumbly and always reminds me of my childhood. You could ice your shortbread if you’re handy with a piping bag, but personally I think they’re best left simple with just a sprinkling of sugar on top.