Every Christmas, for as long as I can remember, I have made shortbread. There have been numerous recipes and various shapes, all with different outcomes. I've never had a shortbread baking tray with fancy moulding, to make the old-fashioned frilly Scottish shortbread. But the recipe below can handle that, and more.
This one is simple enough for the kids to make, and delicious enough for the most discerning Christmas treat lover.
Preparation time is about 10 minutes; plus 10 minutes chilling, 20 minutes baking, and 10 minutes cooling times
Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius
Spray a large flat baking tray with canola oil baking spray
250 grams butter, softened (or microwaved)
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup caster (superfine) sugar
1/2 cup rice flour
** About a teaspoon caster sugar, for sprinkling after baking is done
Method - can make around 50
In a large clean bowl (preferably stainless steel, but don't stress if you don't have one), place all the dry ingredients and mix through.
Carefully include the butter (if microwaved, it will be hot). If you used softened butter, cut through the mixture with a knife to break down all the butter.
Using a fork mix in well. The mixture should be damp and crumbly, not dry or runny. There should be a slight gloss to it.
Using very clean hands (make sure your nails are short and clean too), roll the mixture into a ball so it is smooth and solid. Place back in the bowl and cover, and refrigerate for 10 minutes. If you're in a hurry, you can miss refrigerating.
After refrigerating, break the mixture down again using the fork, and then place an even layer of the crumbly mixture onto the baking tray that has been sprayed with canola oil baking spray.
Press the mixture down onto the baking tray, and smooth over with the back of a spoon, so it is all the way to the edge, and like one huge rectangular biscuit.
Using a fork, gently place decorative holes over the surface (being careful not to pierce all the way through).
Using a table knife, cut lengthways and crossways, to make bite-sized biscuits.
Place the tray in the preheated oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.
The shortbread should be light golden in colour. Do not leave in the oven any longer, or it will go dry.
Take tray out of the oven and sprinkle the big biscuit with the extra caster sugar, and then recut through, over the original cuts.
Allow to cool on the baking tray for ten minutes. Slide little biscuits off the tray gently, so as not to break the smaller biscuits.
Keep in an airtight tin and enjoy in moderation (they're are for deliciousness, not weight loss!).