Whenever I’m in need of a recipe, the first thing I head for is Google. I love how millions of recipes are so accessible simply due to the power of the Internet. Type carrot cake into the search engine, and you have thousands of different recipes to choose from and I must admit it does make baking so much easier.
However this modern day and age does have me missing the days of using recipe books. I can’t remember the last time I followed a recipe using a book so when I was in need of something to bake to give to my guests that I was inviting to my dinner party, I knew I could rely on Paul Hollywood. I’ve had his “How To Bake” book sitting in my kitchen for over 6 months now but have never got round to using it. Like with many of my recipe books, they sit on my shelves gathering dust. However, I was really impressed with this book, the detailed easy to follow steps covers everything from basic techniques through to more difficult skills, with Paul explaining how to make pastries, biscuits, breads and cakes.
After sifting though the pages of the book, I stumbled across this shortbread recipe, and I knew immediately that it would be the perfect gift to hand out to my guests. I simply put a few shortbread stars into a clear cellophane bag, tied it with a ribbon and added a personalised name tag which I drew on using a stencil. The buttery flavour alongside the sugary sweetness meant they went down a treat!
Makes 20 Shortbread (depending on size)
You will need –
- 225g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 110g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 110g cornflour
- Pinch of salt
Step 1: Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Step 2: Cream together the butter and caster sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Sift the flour and cornflour into the bowl, add the salt and mix together until smoothly combined. Tip the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and knead to a soft dough.
Step 3: Roll out the dough between 2 pieces of baking paper to a thickness of 1cm. Prick the dough all over with a fork and using a cookie cutter, cut into your desired shape or cut into triangles. Re-roll the scraps once to cut more (if you re-roll too many times the dough may start to get greasy).
Step 4: Put the shortbreads on the prepared baking trays and chill for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 170°.
Step 5: Bake the shortbreads for about 20 minutes, until just turning golden brown at the edges. Leave on the baking trays for a few minutes to firm up slightly, then lift the shortbreads onto a wire rack. Dust with sugar and leave to cool. They will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
You can easily use whichever cookie cutters you wish depending on which occasion you’re baking these for – I can imagine heart shaped shortbreads would make super cute Valentine’s or Birthday treats!