Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Shortbread {Blog Train}

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So with just two weeks left till Christmas, our house is really beginning to look, feel and SMELL like Christmas… with the Christmas tree up, shopping bags of presents lined up, rolls of wrapping paper spread out and yummy smells wafting out from the kitchen.

Every year I try to bake some goodies to share and give out to friends and family. The previous two years, I’ve made Oreo pops and gingerbread men. So this year, what is to be?

Also, this year’s Christmas cooking is extra special because I’m hopping aboard the Festive Fare blogtrain hosted by Jennifer the Dinomama.

After some research and pondering, I finally landed on the perfect recipe – Christmas Shortbread : A yummy and Christmassy goodie but also fairly simple recipe that anyone would not hesitate to try. It’s so simple that it definitely falls under my four ingredient recipes category.

Here’s a little bit of trivia and introduction on the history of shortbread

Shortbread dates back to the 12th century in Scotland and the British Isles. They were originally biscuits that were made from left-over bread dough that was sometimes sweetened and dried out in the oven to form a hard, dry rusk.

Over time the leavening was replaced by butter, making it an expensive luxury treat that was only reserved for special occasions such as Christmas, Hogmanay (Scottish New Year’s Eve) and weddings.

The large amount of butter is what makes shortbread short: the term ‘short’, when applied to biscuits and pastry, means crumbly, like shortcrust pastry. It is the reason why the fat added to biscuits and pastries is called shortening.

References: Irishcultureandcustoms.com and Wikipedia

I love this particular shortbread recipe as the rice flour gives a soft velvety texture which just melts in your mouth. And the simple recipe allows plenty of room for creativity and variation.

Christmas Shortbread Fingers

Ingredients
250g butter at room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 2/3 cups plain flour
1/2 cup rice flour
[Quantity makes approx 16 fingers]

Step 1: Preheat oven to 160ºC. Then line a 26cm x 18 cm baking tin with baking paper.

Step 2: Cream butter and sugar together until pale, light and creamy.

Step 3: Sift flours over butter and sugar mixture. Then using a smooth non-serrated knife, mix flour and butter mixture in a cutting motion until the mixture comes together in small moist clumps.

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Step 4: Tip the dough into the tin and press it out into an even layer. Use a sharp knife to slice the dough into evenly sized rectangular  fingers. Prick lightly with a fork and sprinkle with extra sugar.

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Step 5: Bake for 30 minutes until it turns a light golden colour. Depending on the actual size of your tin, the size and thickness of your dough might vary, so it might be worthwhile to check the oven regularly to make sure it does not become over-baked or burnt.

Step 6: Allow the shortbread to cool in the tin for at least 15 minutes before lifting out gently by the edges of the baking paper. Then slice it and store in an airtight container.

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You can vary the recipe by adding some chopped nuts (macadamia nuts add a nice buttery texture) or flavouring such as vanilla, lemon essence or cinnamon. They make great little gifts for the festive season and it’s easy to whip up a big batch for a large group or gathering.

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As the Festive Fare blogtrain chugs along, I’d like to introduce you to the next blogger, Jasmine of Gift Wrapsody who will be sharing her delicious recipe for Coca Cola Ham.

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Jasmine is a mum of two boys who loves making meaningful craft. She is inspired by the people around her to find 101 simple yet special ways to inject fun into their lives. You can find her at her craft blog at Gift Wrapsody.

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Chugging along to Dinomama’s Festive Fare blogtrain

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Enjoy the festive Christmas season everyone!

11 comments:

  1. Beautiful shortbread!
    Can we put a layer of strawberry jam in the middle?

    Thanks for hopping on my Festive Fare blogtrain!

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    1. Thanks Dinomama Jen! Strawberry jam is a new idea. But I don't see why not... it will make it extra sweet and rich then.

      If you make the shortbread layer thinner, you can put a later of strawberry jam in between to make them like those biscuits with the layer of jam or cream in the middle. Super sinful though! But the whole festive season is like that anyway ^_^

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  2. wow! yummy!!! thanks for sharing, Serena!

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    1. Happy to share, Jean! Look forward to checking out your recipe on the train ^_^

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  3. Looks Yummy. Bring some home. My oven is still under repair

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    1. We'll try and exercise some self control to set some aside to share with you guys for Christmas :D

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  4. wow, this looks really simple and quick to make! I love shortbread and will give this a try~! [haa, due to the blogtrain, i bought 1kg of butter to try and error several recipes ;)]

    p/s: first time visit, you have a wonderfully cozy place here^^.

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    1. Hi pc! Thanks for checking out my corner... this blogtrain is really a great opportunity to meet new bloggers ^_^

      1kg of butter!!! Well, good idea actually... I've been buying a block or two of butter every few days along the way... should have just stocked up like you in anticipation of the festive cooking season.

      Look forward to checking out your recipe on the train!

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  5. I love shortbread! Haven't ever tried to make it yet though it is something I definitely have on my todo list :) Do you keep them outside or refrigerated after baking?

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    1. Hi Jasmine! They are yummy, though rather sinful... but ok for a festive treat I suppose.

      I keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Refrigeration might change the texture a little, but I don't think there's an absolute rule against it.

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  6. We love love love shortbread! Thanks for sharing, will try this out soon! :)

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Thanks for taking the time to comment - I love reading every single one of them! Although I may not be able to reply to each comment, I will definitely pop over to your blog to say hello.

I love hearing from readers and fellow bloggers alike. If you're a little shy or would like to get in touch with me directly, drop me an email at serenely@outlook.com