Classic Shortbread

Ingredients

Makes 30-40 fingers

  • 350g (12oz) plain flour
  • 110g (4oz) caster sugar, plus extra to sprinkle
  • 85g (3oz) cornflour (cornstarch) or ground rice
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 285g (10oz) salted butter, cut into 1cm / ½inch cubes
Classic Shortbread

Anne Helay, a longtime member of the pastry team at Ballymaloe House, makes a batch of this heavenly shortbread every few weeks. Once you taste it you will never forget it. Stored in an airtight tin, it will keep for weeks. It is perfect for a picnic and it is one of the most useful biscuits to have at hand when you want to offer something sweet with tea or coffee anytime of day.

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Method:

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4. Line the base of a 20cm x 30cm (18 x 12 inch) rectangular baking tin with baking paper.

Sieve the dry ingredients together into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add the butter and rub it into the dry ingredients using the paddle attachment, on a low speed, until everything comes together and forms a dough, approximately 5 minutes.

Transfer the dough to the prepared tin and press it out into an even layer, use a rolling pin to flatten the surface and prick the dough with a fork or a skewer, leaving approximately 2cm between each prick.

Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until light golden and cooked all the way through. Remove from the oven and cut into diamonds or fingers while still hot. Sprinkle caster sugar over the surface of the shortbread and allow to cool completely before removing from the tin. Store in an airtight container.

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