Crumbly stars……

by Sunita on November 5, 2007

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Shortbread is one biscuit which we adore a lot…well, probably most of you do. But , since the scales tell a different and not so pleasant story, we do try to repel it as much as we can. However , once in a while we do gorge on these beauties… Whenever they are made , Dinesh seems to hover over the biscuit tin more often..and so do the kids…well, to be honest, I, too can hardly keep away from them. The sweet buttery taste and crumbly texture of these beauties are indeed very hard to resist. In fact it is because of this crumbly texture (which is again due to it’s high fat content) that they are so named.

Shortbread is generally associated with Scotland. They are made with just three ingredients …flour, butter and sugar. These biscuits are traditionally shaped in any of the following three ways… one large circle, which is divided into segments as soon as it is taken out of the oven (“petticoat tails”); individual round biscuits (“Shortbread Rounds”); or a thick (¾” or 2 cm) rectangular slab cut into “fingers.” They are also patterned by pricking them with a fork before baking. They have a pale golden appearance as opposed to a golden brown one…this is due to the relatively low temperatures at which they are baked.

As I’ve mentioned before, we try our best to resist this temptation. But, sometimes , it’s hard to turn away from them. Moreover, the last month, all of us have been so much under the weather…it is only today that I’ve seen better appearances, what with the four of us, being hit by one bug or another, one after another…Rengoni, after having had to miss school for a few days, has finally gone back today…the cloud has , at last lifted from our family…well, it does seem so for now at least. So, I’ve taken this opportunity to bake these favourites of our’s in order to indulge ourselves…once in a while is fine, isn’t it…I know, you can see the repeated self- defense that is going on here :-) Somehow , I thought that I had already posted this recipe…but as it was not, here’s the recipe for these shortbread stars

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What’s needed-

3 C of plain flour
200 gms of butter
6-7 tbls of castor sugar and a little more for sprinkling
3 and 1/2 tblsp of semolina

How to-

  1. Pre heat the oven at 130 deg cel.
  2. Place the flour and semolina in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Cut the butter (at room temperature) into the flour and rub together to resemble fine crumbs.
  4. Add the sugar and bring together the mixture into a ball.
  5. Place the ball on a work surface and knead till smooth.
  6. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 3-4 mm thickness.
  7. At this stage, cut out the stars (or rounds) .
  8. Bring together the trimmings, roll out again and repeat till the entire mixture has been used up.
  9. Prick them all over with a fork.
  10. Place them on an ungreased baking tray and bake in the centre of the pre heated oven for 30-35 minutes or till cooked…or till very , very slightly golden around the edges( it will still be a little soft at this stage).
  11. Leave the biscuits on the tray for a few minutes and sprinkle with sugar while still warm.
  12. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before storing in air tight containers.
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As you have noticed, regarding the recipe, I did use the traditional ingredients of flour, butter and sugar, but I also added a fourth- a little semolina…it’s a personal preference…I love the slight bite that it adds to these biscuits. You may very well avoid it , but , if you do feel like giving it a try, I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed.

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All in all, we were all delighted to return to normal after a month of repeated coughs, cold and fevers, and these crumbly stars added to the joy.

Update: Am sending this over to dear Zlamushka as a spoonful of Christmas.

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sirisha Kilambi November 5, 2007 at 10:47 pm

What beautiful looking biscuits Sunitha…..A must-try :-) )
And yes…will try it with Sooji :-)

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2 Asha November 5, 2007 at 11:00 pm

Sunita, you can send this to Z’s Spoonful of Xmas event, would make a perfect gift!
Looks yum, almost like Butter Biscuits we make. Rava is great twist, makes it crisper!:))
Hope your kids are feeling lot better now. Weather changes and it hits us all unfortunately.

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3 musical November 5, 2007 at 11:29 pm

Hey Sunita, good to know that Rengoni is feeing better and is going to school again. Shortbread is always a nice treat, especially in the winter time :) . The stars look so pretty!

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4 Anh November 6, 2007 at 12:09 am

Sunita, these are so beautiful! Perfect as Christmas presents.

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5 TBC November 6, 2007 at 12:33 am

That looks heavenly, Sunita:-)

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6 Red Chillies November 6, 2007 at 3:41 am

My goodness Sunita, you outdo yourself everytime. What with the superb baking, wonderful recipes, amazing pictures, I don’t blame your kids or husband. Nobody can resist those Shortbreads

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7 Dhana November 6, 2007 at 3:51 am

What a perfect treat post being under the weather for a while !!

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8 Vcuisine November 6, 2007 at 8:22 am

Sunita, you are a cookie expert in making and presenting. Miss your fingers this time :) Very nice with a simple and neat recipe. Viji

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9 Nags November 6, 2007 at 9:13 am

that’s a lovely stack of stars :)

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10 sunita November 6, 2007 at 9:38 am

sirisha, do try them…we are great fans of them.

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11 sunita November 6, 2007 at 9:41 am

Asha, thanks…these are very buttery too…and yes, the rava definitely makes it crisper.
The kids are a lot better now, thanks…the bug’s being doing the rounds in their school,catching every other kid.

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12 sunita November 6, 2007 at 9:42 am

musical, it is indeed a big relief to see the kids recover.And shortbread is a treat for us, well, anytime :-D

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13 sunita November 6, 2007 at 9:43 am

anh, thanks…glad you like them…Christmas or not, we love them at any time :)

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14 sunita November 6, 2007 at 9:44 am

tbc, thanks…glad you came by.

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15 sunita November 6, 2007 at 9:45 am

red chillies, thanks dear…we try to keep off them, but simply can’t resist…we are hopeless addicts.

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16 sunita November 6, 2007 at 9:46 am

viji, thanks…I’m no expert…just love making them…and yes,no fingers this time:-)

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17 sunita November 6, 2007 at 9:47 am

nags, thanks…glad you like them…

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18 Rajitha November 6, 2007 at 12:09 pm

sunita..you stated the exact reason i do not make them..the scale really does shift for me ;) and i really cannot stop myself…so i do not make it…ur stars look so good

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19 sunita November 6, 2007 at 1:00 pm

Rajitha, I too make them ever so rarely…but they are really to die for, aren’t they :-)

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20 bee November 6, 2007 at 2:24 pm

the stars made them loko so glam. it’s preceisely the greasy residue in the mouth that puts me off shortbread, but they do look enticing.

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21 Patricia Scarpin November 6, 2007 at 4:42 pm

Sunita,
I love shortbread and yours are so adorable!
The photos are breathtaking!

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22 Deborah November 6, 2007 at 6:58 pm

I’ve never made shortbread, although I do love eating the wonderful cookies!! I need to try this out one day.

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23 sunita November 6, 2007 at 7:41 pm

bee,we, on the other hand, love them a lot…and I really mean a lot…precisely the reason why they are not made very often :-D

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24 sunita November 6, 2007 at 7:44 pm

Patricia, thanks…btw, how are you…haven’t seen you here for a while…

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25 sunita November 6, 2007 at 7:45 pm

Deborah, thanks…do try making them…but they are really very addictive.

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26 Sia November 6, 2007 at 7:54 pm

suni, ur pics r becoming gorgeous with each and every new post:) glad to know u all r feeling much better. its quite bright and sunny up north here and i am enjoying this autumn much better than the summer we had:)

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27 Helene November 6, 2007 at 8:54 pm

Love the pics. They look so yummy. Can’t wait for the Christmas season and start doing my baking.

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28 sunita November 7, 2007 at 9:16 am

Sia, thanks…we are all fine now…the sun is playing it’s hide and seek with us…otherwise,I too don’t have anything to complain about the weather…in fact I love the crispness in the air …btw,it was not much of a summer this year.

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29 sunita November 7, 2007 at 9:19 am

Helene,thanks and welcome to my world.

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30 Sandeepa November 7, 2007 at 4:03 pm

Your baked stuff is always so good and perfect. Loved those shiny ribbons around them

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31 sunita November 7, 2007 at 7:46 pm

Sandeepa, thanks…glad you like the glitz ;-)

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32 Laavanya November 7, 2007 at 8:41 pm

I am a sucker for shortbread cookies too and I totally agree with your first line.. if it were not for the damage if causes to my waistline i would be chomping through as many as I can. I like how pretty yours look.
Good to hear that you all are doing better now – healthwise.

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33 sunita November 7, 2007 at 9:53 pm

laavanya, it’s so true. isn’t it…sometimes it all seems so unfair…why do great tasting treats have to be that unhealthy :-(

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34 Sig November 8, 2007 at 4:59 am

BEAUTIFUL shortbreads Sunita, you are a baking queen :)

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35 sunita November 8, 2007 at 11:45 am

sig, well. I still consider myself a princess…a long way from being queen ;-)

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36 Rachel November 8, 2007 at 4:28 pm

Adorable biscuits…Semolina for the bite..sounds interesting..I make cookies too for the family to indulge once in a while…It is such a nice feeling..

Great food pics in your blog…

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37 zlamushka November 8, 2007 at 7:59 pm

Hey Sunita,

what a bunch of gorgeous looking cookies. So beautifully presented, very Christmassy…. Why not sending it over to my Spoonful of Christmas gift event?

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38 sunita November 8, 2007 at 8:24 pm

rachel, thanks…and yes, semolina does add a bite…try it :)

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39 sunita November 8, 2007 at 8:25 pm

Zlamushka, thanks dear…will try to send it over.

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40 Cynthia November 8, 2007 at 11:17 pm

Sunita, it is always a joy to come to your blog. There are always treats and something to be educated about. Thank you.

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41 Anonymous November 9, 2007 at 1:01 am

This could be a stupid question. Could you tell me how to use the cookie cutter. I could not lift it without breaking the shape.

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42 PASSIONATE BAKER....and beyond. November 11, 2007 at 11:37 am

Lovely shortbread stars! I love shortbread too, as we all do, and semolina seems to add a nice crunch to the read. I’ve posted Iced cookies for Zlamushka as well, and think its a great call for Christmas…food-as-a-gift is always treasured!

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43 sunita November 12, 2007 at 11:14 am

Cynthia, and it is always a pleasure to have readers like you appreciating the work :-)

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44 sunita November 12, 2007 at 11:18 am

anonymous…it’s not stupid at all…place the cutter straight into the dough all the way down, and give a very slight, gentle twist;do the same for as many as you can on the rolled out dough. Then, tear out the extra bits, so that only the shapes are left out…you will then have space to lift them out…hope this helps.

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45 sunita November 12, 2007 at 11:19 am

passionate baker, they are really very tempting, aren’t they…and yes, something home made is always extra special.

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46 Sweta Gandhi-Shah April 12, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Hi Sunita, I stumbled accross your blog a few weeks back..its a great collection of recipes. I tried this one for the cookies yesterday and they came out great! thanks for Sharing.

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47 Uj November 21, 2008 at 1:53 am

Hi Sunita,
I tried making these stars but the only problem was I was not able to bring the flour into a ball :( When I cut the butter into flour and mixed them it did not give me the texture of crumbs. I just made small pieces of butter and added to the flour. Is this where I went wrong? Sugar wise I added soft white sugar.But nothing helped. I am sure I must have made a huge mistake. Can you guide me?

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48 Usha December 20, 2008 at 5:53 am

Hi Sunita,
This was my first attempt at the baking from the scratch and it was a sucess. The cookies came out almost like your cookies, except that mine were little brown on one side. In the begining I used little less butter and becoz of that I wasnt able to make like a chappti dough. Then I added more butter then it came out very well. Thank you very much for the recipe. I came to your site right on time on perfect occassion and my daughter is overwhelmed with her christmas cookies. Thank you once again for sharing your joy and helping others to enjoy the same.

You’re most welcome…glad your li’l girl liked them :-)

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