Well, its been some time since I blogged, years in fact. However I, like most of you, have a lot more spare time on my hands at the moment.
I’ve been trying to keep a little structure in my day by stopping at 4pm for tea and cake. The Europeans are singing and playing beautiful music on their instruments, but here in the UK we’re best at tea and cake!
So I thought that I would share an easy tea time treat for you from my book ‘The Homemade Wedding Cake’ – my family’s beloved shortbread recipe. Having Irish/Scottish roots, tea time is a cherished tradition, and no cup of tea is complete without a delightful biscuit or a tempting piece of cake (or two!). It got me thinking about the joy of spreading happiness through thoughtful gestures, like sending personalized cookie care packages to your loved ones.
You can buy The Homemade Wedding Cake here
Prep time – 20 minutes
Bake time – 35-40 minutes
4oz/120g icing sugar
8oz/240g plain flour
4oz/120g rice flour (or fine polenta)
8oz/ 240g room temperature unsalted butter cut into small squares
1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2/ 130C Fan. Line two large baking trays with baking powder.
2. Sieve the icing sugar and flour into a bowl. (If you are using polenta just add this straight to the bowl.) Add the butter.
3. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips. Keep rubbing until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture forms a dough.
4. Briefly knead the dough on the work surface, but be careful not to overwork it or the shortbread will become tough.
5. Cut out a 6”/150mm diameter circle from baking paper. (This is assuming that the cake tin you will be using to store the shortbread measures 7”/180mm.)
6. Divide the dough into 6 equally sized pieces, you may find is helpful to weigh them out to get the division exact.
7. Lightly flour the work surface and roll out one of the pieces of dough until it is just slightly bigger than your template. Cut out the dough using the template to create a 6”/150mm circle. Place the circle on a baking tray.
8. Use the back tip of a dessert spoon pressed around the edge of the circle to create a pattern. Then with a sharp knife score the dough to create 6 wedges. Use a fork to add more pattern to the dough.
9. Roll out and shape the remaining balls of dough using the process as described above. Then place in the oven and cook for 35-40mins until the dough feels firm to the touch and the edges of each circle are golden brown. (You may need to turn the trays around halfway during the baking process to prevent burning.)
10. Leave to cool on the baking tray. If the decoration on the shortbread has lost its definition during baking then press lightly over the score marks with the side of a palette knife, but do be careful not to press too hard or you may break the biscuits.
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