HELLO and welcome to all about food. This week is definitely a case of less is more and a perfect introduction to baking. Enjoy!
I’ve always liked the thought of baking my own biscuits or cookies but I am a complete baking novice! Do you have any foolproof recipes I could try?
There is something very impressive about serving your own biscuits when someone calls by for tea! What is even better is that shortbread not only tastes great, it is also very easy to make; of course you don’t have to admit just how easy it is when your friends are tucking in! The basic recipe is simply flour, butter and sugar but there are endless variations so don’t be afraid to experiment.
165g of plain flour
120g of butter
60g of caster sugar
1 tablespoon of semolina (for added crunch)
Preheat your oven to 170ºc. Place the butter and sugar in a food processor and mix until smooth. Add the flour and semolina and mix again until the dough comes together. If you are making by hand, mix the flour, semolina and sugar, then rub in the butter until the mix resembles bread crumbs. Turn the mix onto a floured work surface and bring it together with your hands.
Divide the dough into ten balls, arrange on a lightly greased baking sheet and press each ball flat with the tip of a palette knife. Chill in the fridge for fifteen minutes then bake for twelve to fifteen minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes then gently place the biscuits on to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container, the shortbread will keep for five days.
Try adding the zest of half an orange or lemon and a pinch of mixed spice to the flour. Other spices that work well include ginger and cinnamon. Add a couple of tablespoons of dark chocolate chips or coconut or melt dark chocolate and dip half of the cooled biscuits for a real treat. Shortbread is delicious served with ice cream and some seasonal fruit compote.
Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutneys made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.
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