Saturday, 19 November 2011

Christmas Kitchen - Vanilla Shortbread

There is something about freshly baked shortbread which feels distinctly in tune with Christmas.  I'm not sure whether it's the lovely smell which escapes from the kitchen and through the house, or maybe the thought of curling up in front of the fire with a couple of pieces and a hot drink.  This particular recipe has been a favorite in our house for a number of years and produces delicious results while still being simple to make.  We often make it as presents for the children's teachers at Christmas time, which makes a lovely gift, but the best bit is always eating it ourselves.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


200g Chilled salted butter
325g Plain flour
125g Caster sugar (Golden preferably, but normal is just fine)
2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 large Egg yolks

This makes around 24 pieces of shortbread

1.  Chop the butter into small pieces and place in a large bowl with the flour.  Rub together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  You can use a food processor for this stage, but it doesn't take long with your hands.

2.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix into a dough.  I normally start this off with a knife and then get my hands in the bowl to make a nice pliable dough.

3.  Roll the dough out on a floured surface into a sausage shape, about 9 or 10 inches long, then wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge to chill for an hour.  (You can freeze the dough at this stage for up to 6 weeks.  Thaw out at room temperature for about an hour before slicing).

4.  Preheat the oven to 180'C/160'C (fan)/Gas 4 and grease two large baking trays.  Remove the dough from the fridge and slice into 24 pieces, about 5mm thick, place them on the prepared trays and bake for 20 minutes, by which time the edges of the slices should be lightly golden.

5.  Cool on a rack, then dust lightly with icing sugar and enjoy.

If you don't finish the shortbread in a day, it should keep for about a week in an airtight container.

Have a nice weekend everyone.


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