BakingAlison Lambert

SHORTBREAD BUTTONS.... oh so cute!

BakingAlison Lambert
I have to admit i am quite partial to shortbread.  My mother taught me from a very young age how to bake, and making shortbread was high on her list as there is always that degree of difficulty in regards to making sure the dough is not too dry or wet and to cook them without colouring can sometimes cause concern.  However despite these few issues the actual mixture is very easy to whip up, try infusing or sprinkling the dough with some spice or citrus zest which can add a nice twist to the good-old shortbread biscuit. The dough can be cut into any number of shapes and sizes which is a good standby for the festive season.

SHORTBREAD BUTTONS

makes 18-20

Try varying the flavours of your shortbread, by using rosewater or petals, orange or lemon zest, lavender sugar or spices such as cinnamon and cardamon.

170g unsalted butter, softened 85g caster sugar or raw cane sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 170g plain flour 85g cornflour

zest of 1 orange (optional) 1/2 tsp ground cardamon (optional)

Method Line two trays with greaseproof paper Cream the butter and sugar until soft and pale in colour, beat in the vanilla and zest if using. Sift together the flour, pinch of cornflour and cardamon if using. Add half the flour mixture and mix gently to combine. Add half of the remaining flour, mix once again. Remove mixture from the bowl and tip out onto your bench.  Mould together with your hands, if the mixture feels very sticky then add the remaining flour, you may find you only need half the amount.  You are wanting the dough to mould together well without crumbling.  This is quite an important stage as my mother has emphasised, because if your dough is too dry it is impossible to roll and your biscuits will be dry and if the dough is too wet then the biscuits whilst cooking will run a little and you will not have perfectly shaped biscuits (which is very important!). When you are happy with your dough, wrap in glad wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 170C (150C for fan oven)

Roll out your dough to 5mm thick.  Cut out rounds with a plain 6cm round cutter.  Using a 5cm plain cutter, press into the biscuit almost halfway through.  With a skewer, make four small buttonholes in the centre. Place on the baking trays and bake for 10-15 minutes until just lightly golden.  If you are finding them colouring too fast, adjust the temperature by 10 or 20 degrees. Leave to cool for 1-2 minutes then remove carefully onto a cooling rack.

photos Simon Lambert