A few weeks ago I told one of my friends (she of the rhubarb shrub) that we should arrange to have a baking day to get all of our Christmas baking done and out of the way. Fun though baking is, it can get quite tedious when on one’s own.
To my surprise she both agreed and then remembered (we’re both terrible at remembering to arrange things) and today was designated the day. I arrived bright and early carrying the ingredients I needed to make some shortbread biscuits, and she had already begun her Christmas cake.
Unfortunately her two-year-old son has decided that mixing bowls are quite fun to smash, and so she was down to her last one. This meant a fair bit of turn taking was required in the baking process which probably made it take longer than necessary, but we managed to work around it. Because I was looking at as a social process (and we were having fun) I forgot to take photos til about halfway through…whoops!
Ordinarily when I compile my Christmas food hampers I include a biscuit of some kind. This year I decided I should try to use up some of my cinnamon plum jam that I made a few years ago, but that didn’t set properly (so it’s more like syrup than jam). I came across an easy looking recipe for shortbread, so I decided to combine the two.
To make the shortbread you crumb 230g of butter into a mixture of 115g icing sugar, 115g cornflour and 230g self raising flour.
Once it has come together you roll it out onto a floured breadboard and cut out your biscuit shapes. This year I decided to use a combination of stars and snowflakes, because I thought they looked adorable. And Christmassy. In years past I’ve used trees, bells, stars, reindeer, gingerbread…the list goes on.
Once I had a baking tray filled with biscuits, I used the small end of a pestle to create a small indent in the biscuit, and then spooned a small amount of jam into the centre.
I put them into an oven heated to 160 degrees C for approximately 10-15 minutes.
The jam adds a wet tartness to break up the dry sugar of the shortbread. A perfectly lovely combination (and my friend agrees – she eagerly kept the ‘disaster cookies’ that broke apart when I tried to move them too soon).
What are your favourite biscuits to make? Do you have a recipe you use every year?
115g icing sugar
230g self raising flour
1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
2. Sieve together dry ingredients.
3. Crumb/knead butter into dry ingredients.
4. Roll dough onto a floured breadboard.
5. Once biscuit shapes are cut out, create a dent in the centre of the biscuit and add a small amount of jam.
6. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes. (Don’t let them bake for too long because they will continue cooking once removed from the oven.)
7. Place on cooling rack to cool.