I've never made shortbread before. I measured everything properly, and followed the recipe, but I'm still not sure if I was doing it right, because when it said 'roll it out into a 7inch circle', well, there was no way it was going to roll out without breaking up. I know shortbread has a crumbly consistency though, so I kind of thought I must be still on the right track. In the end, I broke it into small balls and flattened them into little rounds, and then had a go at rolling out what was left, which was only semi-successful. After about 40 minutes in the oven, I tested one of the little ones (well, you've got to haven't you?) and although it was still very warm, the texture seemed to be just right, so out it all came to be sprinkled with caster sugar and then cool:
Not the perfectly round circle that I was aiming for, but I will say, the one I tried tasted yummy, so appearance be damned! There's nothing wrong with 'rustic'!!
If you're interested, the recipe was from a little book called '101 Cakes & Bakes' from Good Food Magazine, published by BBC books.
150g/6oz plain flour
100g/4oz slightly salted butter, cut into pieces and softened
50g/2oz golden caster sugar
caster sugar, for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 150°C/Gas 2/fan 130°C. Put the flour in a mixing bowl, add the butter and rub together to make fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar.
2. Work the mixture together until it forms a ball. Turn out on to a work surface and knead briefly until smooth. Roll and pat out on a very lightly floured surface to an 18cm/7in round. Smooth the surface with your hands. Carefully slide the dough on to an ungreased baking sheet and flute the edges. Mark the circle into eight triangles with a knife, not cutting all the way through. Prick the surface all over with a fork.
3. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cooked. The shortbread should be very pale. While still warm, cut through the markings and sprinkle with caster sugar. Cool before eating.
I hope I'm not breaching any copyright by posting that. I don't know if there are different ways of making shortbread, but if you have an alternative recipe, feel free to share it in the comments!
The annoying thing now is that I want to try another one, but CJ is out and I should really wait until he gets back so that we can have one each! Hurry up CJ!!