Melt-in-your-mouth shortbread. Perfect for dipping in warm melted chocolate!
I’m in a little bit of trouble in my house, as we have been doing really well eating healthily since the New Year. However this weekend I decided I wanted to understand what makes a great shortbread recipe, which of course has led to a lot testing and less than healthy eating!
After a little bit of recipe research, the biggest question I faced when making the shortbread was what flour to go for. There were three choices, therefore I made a batch of each to test:
- Plain flour only: Ideally this would be the best tasting, as it involved only one flour which pretty much every supermarket sells. Unfortunately both Charlotte and I agreed that this produced a dry and craggy shortbread, lacking in flavour.
- A mix of plain and cornflour: This next combination produced a nice buttery flavour, however the texture was harder than we felt a shortbread should be, more like a standard crunchy biscuit. Still it was very tasty.
- A mix of plain and rice flour: This produced the perfect melt-in-your-mouth buttery texture, which is annoying as rice flour isn’t that easy to get hold of! Looking online I realised our local supermarkets didn’t stock it, so I made a special trip to Waitrose where I found a couple of bags in their ‘free from’ aisle (having spent 20 minutes frustratedly scouting their baking section!). However it was the definite winner in terms of matching the cornflour for taste whilst having the ‘correct’ shortbread crumbly texture.
We also tested a couple of flavour enhancers – vanilla extract and salt. We both agreed the vanilla extract made the shortbread taste that bit nicer, whereas, despite only adding a pinch of salt, it left behind a slightly too salty flavour.
Having spent the weekend being a bit more unhealthy than we would have liked, we decided to go all-in on Sunday by enjoying the shortbread used in the photos with a chocolate dip! Needless to say the boys loved it, with more chocolate seemingly around their mouths than in their stomachs. It also meant we were able to get a couple of indulgent shots of the shortbread dipping in progress!
- 200 g butter - at room temperature
- 100 g caster sugar - plus a little extra to sprinkle on top of the shortbread
- 200 g plain flour
- 100 g rice flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Cream together the butter (200g) and caster sugar (100g).
- Sift the plain flour (200g) and rice flour (100g) into the butter and sugar mixture and add in the vanilla extract (1 tsp). Mix together until combined - You don't want to work the mixture too hard, if you have an electric mixer then use a low to medium setting for about 1 minute. If you are using your hands then squeeze the mixture together before kneading lightly until you have a soft dough.
- Roll out the dough to a depth of about 2cm and place onto baking parchment in a baking tray. I found that a rectangle shape of about 16cm long and 12.5 cm wide meant that I could cut the dough into 10 fingers, however make whatever shape you want! To roll the dough I found it easier to first lay out some clingfilm on the work surface, put the dough on top of that and roll it flat a little, and then put baking parchment on top of the dough. I then rolled out the mixture to the proper dimensions with the baking parchment still on top. This meant I could then easily flip the dough onto the baking tray with the baking parchment now at the bottom and cling film covering the top.
- Put the baking tray in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to help the mixture keep its shape in the oven.
- When ready to put the dough in the oven pre-heat it to 180ºC/160ºC. Whilst the oven is heating up, take out your baking tray from the fridge and remove the cling film. Using a skewer (or a fork) poke holes all the way through the dough at regular intervals. If you want to make really neat pieces then I suggest cutting shapes into the mixture at this stage so that you know where the holes should be. The pieces shown in the photos were 2.5cm wide, 2cm tall and 8cm long.
- Put the baking tray with the dough in the oven. It takes 18-25 minutes to bake, depending on how long you have put the dough in the fridge for (the longer in the fridge the longer in the oven). The sides should be turning golden, but the middle will still be pale when it is ready to take out.
- Once out of the oven leave to cool in the baking tray for 10-15 minutes. Then cut the shortbread into the shapes you want. If you already cut the shortbread into shapes before putting in the oven, just re-cut whilst still warm as some of the pieces may have partially joined back up again. Move the biscuits to a cooling rack until completely cooled.
- Finally sprinkle some caster sugar over the top.
Any nutritional information provided is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you would like to learn more about how this is calculated.
Free From/Suitable For…
- Suitable for Vegetarians
The ingredients for this recipe are easily available free from all these allergens. However, please ensure you double-check allergen information for all ingredients.