Shortbread is a type of unleavened biscuit (cookie) which is traditionally made from one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts oatmeal flour. The use of plain white (wheat) flour is common today, and other ingredients like ground rice or cornflour are sometimes added to alter the texture.
Shortbread is so named because of its crumbly texture (from an old meaning of the word short). The cause of this texture is its high fat content, provided by the butter. The short or crumbly texture is a result of the fact that the fat inhibits the formation of long protein (gluten) strands. The related word "shortening" refers to any fat that may be added to produce a short (crumbly) texture.
- 8oz soya or sunflower margerine (2 parts)
- 4oz caster sugar (1 part)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or non- dairy butter flavour)
- 12oz plain flour (3 parts)
- Mix together margerine and sugar till wel combined.
- Mix in flavouring
- Mix in flour
- Make into individual rounds 1 1/2 inches (3cm) acoss and 1/2 inch high.(1 cm) (Or press into a baking tin and cut into fingers or squares, while stiil hot, after baking)
- Prick top surface with a fork.
- Bake in middle of 300F oven til light golden (about 20 minutes)
- Add grated lemon or orange zest
- Add crushed almonds (or nut of your choice)
- Add ground cardamon and fine chopped preserved ginger
- add 1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa
- Dried fruit - cranberries or raisins etc
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest and 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Bride's Bonn from the Orkney Island style = Caraway seeds
- 1 tsp aniseed
- Kourabiedes (Greek) = Add 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp orange zest, 1 tsp cinnamon & chopped almonds (form dough into crescent shapes) and dust with icing sugar when baked
- 2 Tbsp brandy (or liquer of your choice)
- Drommar (Swedish) = Add 2 more oz sugar 1/2 tsp ground cardamon - form into balls and press a whole blanched almond onto the top
- Replace half the flour with oatmeal flour
- Dip in melted non dairy chocolate (chill the shortbread first to make choclate set quickly)