Yesterday was the last day of the school holidays and my little man had a friend over to play, keeping each other busy for hours setting up marble racers, train tracks, army tanks…you name it. I took this as my cue to withdraw to my lovely kitchen and create my favourite Shortbread Cookies.
All was going to plan until a disagreement erupted in the lounge and two little people came hurtling into the kitchen each wanting me to hear their viewpoint, but they stopped mid sentence when they realised I was rolling the cookie dough. My tranquil peace abruptly ended as little hands scrummaged through the collection of cookie cutter shapes and little voices rose in crescendo about who should cut out their shape first. After twenty minutes of pandemonium, we ended up with aeroplanes, cars, shooting stars, snowmen, ice creams, Christmas trees and even a gingerbread man or two before they moved on to their next activity.
Peace returned to my kitchen sanctuary and I got to enjoy the repetitive pattern of my own choice of cookie cut outs. I have to admit that a warm fresh shortbread cookie straight out of the oven is one of life’s overlooked pleasures and peace returned, albeit for a short while, when the two little men got to sample their creations. Don’t be alarmed at the amount of butter in this recipe. Shortbread is known to have lots of butter and this is what gives it it’s very distinct texture, along with the cornflour.
250g butter, softened
½ cup castor sugar (or a quarter each castor and icing sugar)
2 cups flour
½ cup cornflour
pinch of salt
a little extra castor sugar for sprinkling (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (standard or 150°C fan bake) and line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar with an electric beater until the mixture is light and fluffy and pale in colour.
- Sift in the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it gently for about a minute until it all comes together nicely. Pat or roll it out to about 10-12 mm thick and cut into the shapes of your choice. Dip the shape cutter into flour so the dough comes out easily. Place the shapes carefully onto the lined trays. NOTE: They don’t rise or expand sideways as there is no raising agent in the dough so you can put them fairly close together. This does mean that the height the dough is when you cut out the shape, is the height the cookie will be – too low and the cookies may be crispy and overcooked.
- Sprinkle a little castor sugar over each shape (optional).
- Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until just starting to colour. I would suggest checking the cookies from about 20 minutes as oven temperatures vary and you don’t want brown shortbread!
- Allow to cool in the tray for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack with a spatula.
- This quantity supposedly makes about 24 cookies, but that depends on the shapes and the thickness of the dough.