ime to get an insight into how Kym makes her lovely Shortbread ready for Christmas!
225g softened unsalted butter (a little extra for greasing the tin)
110g caster sugar. (a little extra for dusting)
225g plain flour (a little extra for dusting the work surface)
Pinch of salt
1. Grease your baking trays or line with baking parchment.
2. Put the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and cream together using a wooden spoon or an electric whisk. Beat until light and fluffy and the colour has paled.
3. Sift the flour and cornflour into the bowl, add salt and mix together until well combined.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead into a soft ball of dough.
5. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1cm and cut into shapes or rounds. Use a cookie cutter or a glass turned upside down or just a knife.
6. Re-roll the offcuts to make more biscuits but be aware that the dough will get greasy if you roll it too many times.
7. Put the biscuits onto the baking trays, and then prick them all over with a fork.
8. Now chill the uncooked shortbreads for about 30 minutes.
9. While the shortbreads are chilling, preheat your oven to 170 C (Gas 3 / 325 F)
10. Bake for about 20 minutes until just starting to turn golden at the edges. Take out of the oven and leave on the baking trays for a few minutes to firm up a little.
11. Carefully, lift the shortbreads onto a wire rack, sprinkle with sugar, then leave to cool completely.
Shortbread can trace its roots back to a medieval sweet bread which was made from leftover stale loaves. The double bake made it crispy. After the second bake, it would have been rolled in sugar and spices, then left to harden before eating.
Eventually, yeast, which was used in the making of the sweet bread, was omitted and replaced with butter, which had become more readily available, although not cheap! It was the addition of the butter that gave the biscuit a short, crumbly texture.
Whilst it seems that shortbread in its original form, was eaten from the 12th century all over Britain, it was during the 16th century that the recipe was refined and became more popular.
Mary Queen of Scots was credited with its popularity and the name Petticoat Tails is said to have derived from the shape of the skirt of the Queen. Petticoat Tails are a thin, delicate, triangular version of shortbread. In Mary Queens of Scots' time, the shortbread would most likely have been flavoured with caraway seeds.
Although shortbread was well liked in days gone by, it was by no means eaten often by ordinary folk, as it was quite expensive to make. It was a luxury food for many and therefore, reserved for
Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations. Even nowadays, some people who don't eat shortbread at other times of the year treat themselves or their neighbours to some at the end of December!
In Shetland, it is traditional to break shortbread over the head of a bride for good luck, as she enters her new home.
Millionaire's shortbread is an extra luxurious version of our featured bake. The shortbread has a layer of soft caramel on it and a chocolate topping.