As a nation of biscuit lovers, a date for the diary is definitely National Shortbread Day on 6th January. Shortbread is my all time favourite biscuit and I'm delighted to share a really simple homemade shortbread recipe by the baking genius herself, Mary Berry.
Did you know there are only 3 ingredients in shortbread? These are biscuits that even I can make and I know my grandma would be proud of! I used to love baking with her and in times of stress or uncertainty, there's nothing better than getting in the kitchen and baking some treats.
There's something about homemade biscuits that taste so much better than supermarket ones. Yes, there's a little more effort, but I think you'll agree, if you ever try to make these, you won't find an easier, faster way to get a biscuit with your cup of tea or coffee!
As usual, whenever I start to bake I usually get assistance in the form of Pebbles who likes to keep a close eye on methods and proceedings.
So here's the recipe:
- 100g (4oz) butter, softened
- 50g (2oz) caster sugar
- 150g (5oz) self-raising flour (or plain with a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda)
Makes 16-18 Biscuits
1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C /fan 160°C/ gas 4. Lightly butter a baking tray or do what I do and use baking paper for less fuss and washing up.
2. Mix the butter with the caster sugar.
3. Add the self-raising flour and mix it in well. Don't overwork it (still not entirely sure what that means but it sounds good).
4. Using your hands, bring the mixture together to form a dough.
5. Take a walnut size amount and roll it into a ball and place it on a baking tray. Repeat until all balls are neatly spaced out on the tray.
6. Get a fork and dip it in warm water. Press down lightly on each biscuit and flatten each one.
7. Place in the oven for 15-17 minutes. The less time the more shortbread colour they will be. The longer you leave them the more golden they go and are a bit more crunchy.
8. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack and leave to cool. If you can resist.
9. Make a cup of tea.
10. Wait for biscuits to cool. Eat one when too hot. Leave to cool. Finish making tea and leave biscuits alone.
11. Find your best plate and serve. Don't tell anyone you have made them and eat them yourself. Or share with a partner, family member, friend or neighbour - #BeKind
12. Don't share with the cat, even if they try.
If you end up making these, please let me know how you get on and whether you enjoy them. You can do variations too and add a tablespoon of cocoa powder if you want a chocolate version. You might have to reduce the flour slightly if you're doing that. I prefer the plain version but it's nice to try alternatives.
Obviously these biscuits aren't the best for you with all that butter and sugar so they are definitely a once in a while special treat. I will come up with some healthier alternatives in future weeks so we can reduce those sugar levels!
by Jinny Ursell / Designer and Amateur Baker