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How to make shortbread

Ingredients

  • 115g butter at room temperature
  • 50g golden caster sugar plus extra to dust
  • 125g plain flour
  • 50g ground rice

There is nothing nicer than a slice of buttery, crumbly shortbread to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee and it is simplicity itself and so quick to make. This is our classic recipe but there are many variations, some made with semolina, some with cornflour and others just plain flour. We’ve used a little ground rice in this recipe as it gives a nice crisp biscuit with just a little crunchy texture.

To make the best tasting shortbread use the finest butter you can afford as this is where the flavour comes from!

Scottish Shortbread is traditionally made in a round wooden mould, often decorated with thistles, or pressed into a fluted metal flan tin. And, when marked and broken into triangles are known as petticoat tails. To make shortbread fingers press the mixture into an 18 cm square tin and mark it into fingers so that it can be cut or broken into bars once baked. it is best to mark the shortbread with the back of a knife before baking then cut again as soon as the biscuits come out of the oven, then allow to cool so it will snap easily.

If you want to make the mixture in advance, roll the dough into a sausage shape, wrap in cling film and chill. It will keep in the fridge for several days. When ready to bake cut into thick slices, place on a baking tray and bake for about 25 mins until golden.

1

Step 1

Heat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/Gas Mark 3. Cut the butter into cubes. Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until well combined.

2

Step 2

Add the flour and ground rice and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together, it will be crumbly at first but keep beating and it will form a soft dough.

3

Step 3

Dust the work surface with a little flour then pat or roll the dough out to an 18-20 cm circle. Crimp the edge between your finger and thumbs, mark into eight triangles and prick all over with a fork.

4

Step 4

Place on a baking tray. Bake for 45 mins or until pale golden. Allow to cool on the tray for 10 mins then cool on a wire rack. Dust with caster sugar.

Shortbread will keep in a cake tin for up to 2 weeks.

Twists

Cherry shortbread
Add 75g finely chopped glace cherries to the mixture then shape and bake as above.

Lavender shortbread rounds
Add 2 tbsp lavender flowers (check they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides) to the mixture and bake as above or roll out a little thinner and cut into rounds with biscuit cutter and bake for about 15 mins until golden.

Choc chip shortbread squares
Mix 100g plain chocolate chips into the soft dough and bake in an 18cm square tin for 40-45 mins until golden. Cut into squares and drizzle with melted chocolate if liked.

Ginger shortbread triangles
Finely chop 3 pieces preserved ginger from a jar and mix into the soft dough. Roll out thinly and cut into squares, Mark each with the back of knife into 2 triangles and bake for about 20-25 mins or until golden. Cool and snap in half.

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Tennis cupcakes

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Ingredients

For the cakes

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g butter
  • 130g self-raising flour
  • 20g cornflour
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 30ml milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for the icing

  • 500g icing sugar
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • Few drops of green food colouring
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 3tbsp milk

For the toppers

  • 250g white ready-to-roll fondant
  • Yellow food colouring
  • Gumtragacanth or Tylo (optional)

You will also need:

  • 48mm circle cutter
  • Wilton Grass Nozzle, optional
  • Piping bag

That’s goodtoknow

Adding Gumtragacanth or Tylo thickens the fondant and helps set the shape. You will need to add Gumtragacanth the night before using, but Tylo works straight away.

Method

For the cakes
  1. Preheat your oven to 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 3. Place 12 cases in your muffin tin.
  2. Beat the sugar and butter with the vanilla essence until light and fluffy.
  3. Add 1 egg, 1 third of the flour and a splash of milk and beat until just combined. Repeat until all the ingredients are combined.
  4. Divide the batter between the 12 cases and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Remove and cool in the tins for 10 minutes before moving to a wire cooling rack

For the buttercream

  1. Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and beat until smooth and shiny.
  2. Once the cakes are cool, spread or pipe using the grass nozzle tip onto the tops of the cupcakes.
  3. To pipe the grass, hold the nozzle to the cupcake and pipe 2cm as you are lifting away from the cake, pull up quickly to stop piping, repeat until the whole cake is covered.

For the toppers

  1. Colour 220g of your ready to roll fondant yellow. Roll to 3mm thick and use the 48mm circle cutter to cut 12 circles. Leave to dry on greaseproof paper (Victoria used the ‘Purple Cupcakes Dome Kit’ to give the tennis balls a round shape.)
  2. Using the white fondant, roll long thin sausages. Brush with a touch of water and lay onto the yellow circles in tennis ball shapes. Cut the excess off with a sharp knife.
  3. Place the toppers on top of the grass buttercream on the cupcakes.

By Victoria Threader

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