July 27, 2020
Shortbread is perhaps the simplest of all baking. So it has to be perfect. With a good recipe, you can make fingers, shortbread rounds or petticoat tails. At Christmas, we like to make walnut shortbread and pack it in pretty boxes for gifts.
Makes 24 fingers or rounds
- 185g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling generous pinch of salt
- 270g plain flour, plus extra for dusting if you are making biscuit shapes
- 25g ground rice demerara sugar, if you are rolling round biscuits
For walnut shortbread 100g walnuts, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan). If making shortbread fingers, grease and line a 30cm x 20cm traybake tin. Alternatively, if you are making round shortbread biscuits or other shapes, line baking sheets with baking parchment.
2. Cream the butter, sugar and salt in a large bowl until well mixed (but not to the pale and fluffy stage). Add the flour and ground rice and mix until just combined. Add the chopped walnuts at this stage if you are making walnut shortbread.
3. If making shortbread fingers, press the mixture firmly into the baking tin with the palm of your hand and prick it all over with a fork.
4. If making round shortbread biscuits, roll the dough into a fat sausage, then roll the sausage in demerara sugar, wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 1 hour. When you take it out of the fridge, remove the cling film and use a sharp knife to cut 1cm-thick rounds of shortbread. Place these, spaced apart, on lined baking sheets.
5. If making shortbread shapes, like the shortbread hearts we have in the shop, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 6mm thick and cut out shapes using your desired cutter. Repeat with any leftover dough. Place these, spaced apart, on lined baking sheets.
6. Bake the shortbread until golden for about 25 minutes for shortbread fingers, 12 minutes for round biscuits and 8–10 minutes for shortbread hearts or other shapes.
7. When baked, remove from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and sprinkle with caster sugar. If making shortbread fingers, slice in the tin before transferring to the cooling rack.
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Published by Nathaniel Mahoney