Shortbread Fingers recipe

Shortbread

There are lots of recipes that I was thinking of starting this series with but, given the time of year, it just seemed right to choose a treat.

I always think of shortbread as the king of biscuits and yet so much of what you buy in the shops these days is chock full of sugar and has lost the richness that makes it so lovely to eat. This recipe addresses both of those issues and also makes a biscuit that’s easy to adapt for coeliacs.

I usually get about 14 pieces from this measure of ingredients but cut to please yourself – you should get a minimum of 8 fingers. In total it will take you about 45 minutes from starting to measure your ingredients to being able to eat the first piece.

Ingredients

4 oz (114 g) flour – many recipes call for plain flour but I’ve never had a problem using self-raising

2 oz (57 g) rice flour – if you’re baking for coeliacs just use 6 oz of rice flour, the texture is different but the taste is still great

5 oz (142 g) butter – you can use another hard fat if you prefer but butter is the best for taste, I use salted

0.5-1 oz (14-28 g) sugar

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Set your oven to heat to 180C/350F (160C/320F for a fan oven).

Work the butter and the sugar together until they form a pale, creamy consistency. I tend to do this by hand with a fork but there’s no reason you couldn’t do it in a mixer.

Sieve together the flour and rice flour and then gradually add this to your cream and sugar mix. I’d recommend doing this quite slowly so that you get it well worked in. Once it’s most of the way there, work the mixture by hand so that you get everything into your final ‘dough’. Try not to over handle it, but this is a very forgiving recipe so you don’t need to worry too much.

Let the dough rest for 5 or 10 minutes. Depending on how warm your kitchen is you can just leave it to sit or you can put it into the fridge.

Roll or hand flatten the dough into a rectangle that’s about 3/4 of an inch deep and about 5 inches by 10 inches. Roughly, 2cm by 12cm by 25cm.

Use a fork to evenly prick all over the dough. The fork should go about half way through the dough – any further and you risk them breaking as you take them out of the oven. You might want to lightly mark out where you are going to divide your biscuits to make sure that you don’t have any fork pricks right at the edges as this can also cause crumbling. I generally aim to have at least 4 sets of marks per biscuit.

Finish cutting the fingers out and transfer them to a lightly-greased baking tray. Again, I usually use butter but you can use whatever you prefer. Choose a tray that is large enough to allow you to leave a space between each of the fingers.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, by which time they should have started to colour. Gently test a biscuit to see if a firm outer coating has formed but there is still a bit of give in the biscuit. If it is still completely soft leave for a couple more minutes.

Once they’ve finished baking, remove from the tray to a rack to allow them to cool and crisp up evenly.

After about 5 minutes they should be cool enough to eat and you may like to do a taste test!

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