We owe the British for their lovely biscuit recipes especially when upcoming festivities like the holidays are just around the corner. One of the all-time favorites they've offered us was shortbread. These biscuits are awfully simple to prepare as they are similar to your regular cookies. In fact, a typical formula consists of a 3:2:1 ratio of flour to fat to white sugar and they don't require any flavoring or leavening for a fancy structure.

They can even be baked into cookies complete with icing on top.

Of course, as simple as shortbread is, one shouldn't pass up the opportunity to experiment with the consistency for something extra special. So for anyone who wants to take things much further, this recipe will include some fun and interesting variations to try out.

The recipe

Shortbread ingredients:

  • 2 sticks, 2 tbsp (250 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5/8 cup (125 g) caster sugar
  • 3 cups (375 g) cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Icing ingredients:

  • 1 cup (125 g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Cover a baking tray with parchment.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until smooth and creamy. Add the flour and salt to the mixture and beat until it forms a crumbly dough.
  3. Transfer the crumbling dough to the parchment lined baking tray and roll it out evenly to a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Cut out the dough into rectangles (or circles as desired) and sprinkle each with caster sugar.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until the shortbread turns golden. Let them cool for 10 minutes.
  5. To prepare the icing, combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until fully incorporated. Pour the icing on top of each biscuit/cookie and spread with a metal spatula. Serve the shortbread.

Serves: 20

Variations

  • Iced Cookies - Cut the shortbread out in rounds. Glaze the baked cookies with some decorative icing. These are perfect for the Holidays and other festivities.
  • Chocolate Glaze - Glaze the baked biscuits/cookies with a ganache (chocolate + heavy cream at 1:1 ratio).
  • Cinnamon - Add 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon to the mixture in Step 2. Substitute more ground cinnamon for the caster sugar used to dust the rounds/rectangles in Step 3.
  • Lemon - Add the zest of 1 lemon to the mixture during creaming in Step 1.
  • Honey - Add 2 tablespoons of honey to the mixture during creaming in Step 1.
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