A few days ago I posted a recipe for shortbread on this site that I had taken from the 1977 Good Housekeeping home baking guide.
They weren’t bad, but nowhere near as good as shortbread made with the recipe that I normally use. So I thought it would be a good idea if I shared that one as well.
I’ve been trying not to bake shortbread for a while for a couple of reasons.
They are just too bloody good, and I eat so many of them that I feel sick later.
They contain about a million calories per biscuit.
I found I was making them all the time, and really wanted to experiment a bit. After all you can only eat so many biscuits in one lifetime and you don’t want them to always be the same.
But, it has now been about half a year since I ate any shortbread at all (apart from last week), and the packet of butter in the fridge is calling out to me, so the time has come.
Yes, y’know, the Scottish biscuits that are crumbly and buttery and come in packets with tartan and thistles on them.
They are neither short (in terms of height), or bread. The name comes from an older meaning of the word short:
short | SH ôrt| (of pastry) containing a high proportion of fat to flour and therefore crumbly.
They could also easily have been named for the short amount of time that they stay in your kitchen or on the table before they all magically disappear.
There is really not a lot more to say, anyone who has ever tried real butter shortbread must already love them. Anyone who hasn’t tried them, stop wasting time and put the oven on to heat up, and let’s:
- Unsalted butter 175g
- Caster sugar 75g
- Plain flour 175g
- Fine semolina 75g
Put the oven on to heat up to 150°C.
Throw the butter into a large mixing bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon until it softens.
Add the sugar and beat it into the soft butter.
Sift the flour into the bowl and add the semolina, and mix it altogether until you end up with a smooth mixture that doesn’t leave any bits around the edge of the bowl.
The easiest way is to start off with a wooden spoon and then use your hands as the mixture starts to come together.
Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and rol it out to the size of whatever you are going to bake it in (a 20cm diameter tin is ideal). Make sure that the mixture is pushed evenly right up to the edges, and prick it all over with a fork.
Bake it in on the middle shelf of the oven for about 60 minutes, it should turn a light golden colour and feel firm to the touch in the middle.
Take it out of the oven and while it is still hot, score it into 12 wedges.
When it is cool, cut along the wedge lines that you have scored and sprinkle some caster sugar on the top.
Eat and enjoy, especially good with an old fashioned cup of tea. Whatever you don’t consume immediately (not much) can be kept in an airtight container for as long as it lasts.