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Traditional Shortbread

Traditional Shortbread and afternoon tea
Shortbread & Afternoon Tea

Since COVID19 lock-down, I’ve been working my way through the Ann Cleeves series of books based in the remote Shetland islands. This probably explains why I woke up this morning dreaming of shortbread biscuits & tea!

Lots of people have their own recipe for shortbread but I find this one with the addition of rice or cornflour, gives the biscuits their distinctive “short” texture. I think it gives you a result that is very close to the traditional Scottish recipe.

If you have few ingredients in the house, it’s a recipe that’s easy to knock together and have on the table in just over half an hour. The only problem is trying not to eat the whole batch in one sitting!!!

225g salted butter, softened to room temperature
100g caster sugar plus extra for dredging when baked
225g plain flour
100g rice flour or cornflour

1. Preheat oven to 150C or 140C fan oven. Lightly butter 2 × 20cm sandwich tins or a 23cm x 33cm Swiss roll tin.
2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, should take up to 5 mins. Sift in the flours and combine briefly until mixture just brought together. Do not over-process.
3. Divide between the prepared tins and press down with floured hands. Prick all over with a fork and crimp edges to give a fluted pattern.
4. Bake for 30 mins or until uniformly golden all over.
5. Shake sugar over then cut into triangles or fingers while still warm. Leave to cool for approx 15 mins then remove from tin to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. Enjoy with a cup of your favourite tea!

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