My mum used to make massive batches of her special shortbread every year for Christmas when I was a kid. Now that we're all grown up, she doesn't do a lot of baking, so if I want shortbread (and I often do), I make them myself.
Shortbread has very few ingredients, so I like to make sure they're good quality...
Natural golden unrefined caster sugar, unsalted Danish butter (a step up from my usual Safeway homebrand butter! - I saw an ad for it in a glossy magazine and succumbed), regular flour and rice flour.
Ooh... I love how the golden caster sugar is more, well, golden than regular caster sugar!
The recipe I use is adapted from a recipe for wholemeal shortbread from an Australian Women's Weekly cookbook, The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits. Mum always makes them with the line down the middle, like the book suggests, and this, in turn, is how I decorate my shortbread. I like eating them one half at a time, taking small nibbles from one side. I didn't realise until last Saturday, when Duncan pointed it out to me, that they look like big panadols. They taste a lot better though, and with their crumbly texture and sweet buttery flavour, they make me feel better than any panadol ever could.
Special Christmas Shortbread
Adapted from The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup castor sugar
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup rice flour
Preheat oven to 170C.
Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat until pale and fluffy. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix well together to form a firm dough. Turn out on to lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll out to 1cm thickness. Cut out rounds using a 4cm floured cutter. Place on lined oven trays. Mark lightly in half with a knife, being careful not to cut all the way through. Bake for 35 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on tray.
Makes approximately 35.