Almond Shortbread is a nutty version of a traditional teatime favourite. Add some icing to make this a special treat that's still easy and quick to make.
This is a recipe that my mother used to make for Sunday tea. I'm not always keen on nuts in cakes, but I just love them in Almond Shortbread. It's the combination of sweet glace icing and crunchy nuts, with the butter shortbread - yum!
What's in Almond Shortbread?
All the usual shortbread ingredients: butter (yes, it has to be butter), caster sugar, and plain/all-purpose flour. For a slightly crunchier shortbread, I use some semolina (or ground rice if I can find it).
The obvious extra is almonds - chopped in this case, and a glace icing - so you'll need some icing sugar.
Ring the changes
Nuts - You can use any nuts you like or have in your cupboard, but if you've run out, just make the shortbread without them.
Orange zest or extract - If you like orange you could add a teaspoon. It works with or without the nuts.
Flour - If you prefer a softer shortbread, use cornflour/cornstartch instead of semolina. Or just use flour if that's what's in the cupboard!
Secrets of success
Shortbread dough doesn't want to be warm, so handle it as little as possible, and preferably don't make in a hot kitchen where you've already been cooking.
But if it gets a bit floppy, just put the dough into the fridge for half an hour at any stage.
You can make the dough up a day or two before you want to use it. Keep it in the fridge in an airtight container - box or bag is fine.
Or make the shortbread base the day before you need it and ice on the day.
How long does Almond Shortbread keep?
Keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to a week - a little longer if it's in the fridge.
What else do you need to make Almond Shortbread?
- Magic Liner – Comes in a roll that you can cut to fit your tins and baking sheets. You don’t have to grease it as it's totally non-stick. You wash it in the dishwasher or in hot spay water and re-use forever
- Silicone baking mat - You can use this non-stick mat over a baking sheet to keep the mess down and you can roll dough out on it as well. Wash in the same way as magic liner
- Magimix Food Processor – Of course, any processor will do, but I can recommend the Magimix, having had the same one for 25 years. It’s needed a couple of new bowls and lids in that time, but the motor is still going strong.
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For the shortbread:
- 120 g butter
- 60 g caster sugar
- 120 g plain/all-purpose flour
- 60 g semolina
- 40 g chopped almonds
For the icing and decoration:
- 200 g icing/powdered sugar
- Hot water from the kettle
- 30 g chopped almonds
- Set the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 3/325°F
- Grease the baking sheet or line with a silicone baking mat or magic liner
- Chop the nuts if necessary.
For the Almond Shortbread:
- Beat all the ingredients except the chopped nuts with a mixer or in a food processor until they are well combined. (Butter, sugar, flour, semolina)
- If you don't have a machine: Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the flour, semolina and salt and mix well, first with a knife, and finally pull into a ball with your hands.Don’t overwork the dough or it will go oily
- Tip the dough out and add the chopped nuts, Knead and press together until mixture forms a ball
- Roll or press into a round to about 17cm across and place on the baking sheet. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface, then flute the edges with your thumbs
- Prick all over with a fork and cook for 40-50 minutes or until golden
- Leave on the baking sheet for 10 minutes after cooking, then remove carefully to a wire cooling rack and wait until cold to ice.
For the icing and decoration:
- Make a glace icing by mixing the icing sugar with 30-40ml hot water from the kettle. Start with 2 tablespoons (30ml) and see if you need any extra
- Spoon the icing onto the shortbread. Use the back of a tablespoon to push the icing outwards using a circular motion
- Immediately sprinkle the chopped nuts over the icing and wait to set before serving.