Shortbread is my weakness. Well, one of my many weaknesses (I quite like food). My requirement is that it’s good shortbread – it needs to be light, melty, crumbly and the butter taste needs to really come through. I’ve spent a long time trying to perfect my shortbread recipe, and I think I’m about there. It’s one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever attempt, and it’s simple to scale up (we’ll have no scaling down – you always want more, not less) if you need to.
Give it a go, you won’t regret it.
240g plain flour, sifted (if you can be bothered, which I never can).
180g good quality salted butter chopped into cubes.
80g caster sugar, plus a bit extra for sprinkling on top.
Pinch of salt.
See – simple. The basic recipe is 1:2:3, sugar:butter:flour. I like to add extra butter though to make it softer and to really help the butter flavour come through. Use salted butter and a pinch of salt – I know it sounds strange but it won’t taste salty, it’ll just enhance all the flavours.
1. Preheat your oven to 170°c – about 20°c less if it’s a fan oven. Line a 8×8 inch (approximately, it’s forgiving) square tin with greaseproof paper.
2. Stir together the flour, sugar and salt until they’re all combined.
3. Drop in the butter cubes, and rub it all together with your fingertips. You’ll need big breadcrumbs – it won’t be a particularly dry mixture because of all the butter but you should get a breadcrumb-type texture.
4. Pour the crumbs into your prepared tin, and squish them all into place. Doing it like this rather than kneading it will keep it crumbly when it’s baked.
5. Bake for approximately half an hour. I start with 20 minutes and then check it every 5 minutes – you need to take it out when it’s just, just starting to go golden.
6. Remove from the oven, sprinkle caster sugar over the top and leave to cool in the pan.
7. When cool, slice into fingers (or chunks, whichever takes your fancy).
It’s the weekend, forget your January diet.