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…
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
- Pre heat the oven at 130 deg cel.
- Place the flour and semolina in a bowl and mix well.
- Cut the butter (at room temperature) into the flour and rub together to resemble fine crumbs.
- Add the sugar and bring together the mixture into a ball.
- Place the ball on a work surface and knead till smooth.
- Roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 3-4 mm thickness.
- At this stage, cut out the stars (or rounds) .
- Bring together the trimmings, roll out again and repeat till the entire mixture has been used up.
- Prick them all over with a fork.
- 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).
- Leave the biscuits on the tray for a few minutes and sprinkle with sugar while still warm.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before storing in air tight containers.
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.
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.