Melt-in-the-mouth buttery Shortbread Biscuits, with a sugary finish, are always welcome at afternoon tea – or at any time with a cup of tea or coffee.
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Every recipe for Shortbread Biscuits uses the same formula, i.e. the proportions of butter, sugar and flour are the same. You use 1 part of sugar, 2 parts of butter and 3 parts of flour.
What sort of flour?
The difference between shortbread recipes is in what sort of flour they use. You can use all plain flour, or you can substitute up to about a third o for something else. This could be semolina to give a crunchier biscuit, or as in this case, rice flour, which makes a slightly softer biscuit. Any of the combinations will make a good shortbread biscuit and I’ll be adding recipes for all of them over the next few months.
There can be no compromise here. If you’re making shortbread, you need butter. Of course, I only use butter in my baking anyway, as I prefer the flavour and I like to know what I’m eating.
Sadly, not all butters are made equal, and using a very cheap butter can mean oily or limp biscuits. It’s all to do with what the cows eat, but I find the best butter for baking is a mid-range type. I do use supermarket own brand – but not the basic range.
How thick should my biscuits be?
Shortbread biscuits vary in thickness and shape, and here I’ve made quite thin ones – about 1/2cm thick. If you want to go for the traditional finger shape, you will need to roll them a bit thicker – about 1cm.
And there you have it. Simple, delicious biscuits waiting for a cup of tea. (But if you try dunking these, they will probably crumble and fall in – so beware!)
- Biscuit cutters – I’ve used a star here, but any shape that’s 5-6cm in size will do
- Magic liner or silicone baking mat – I always use one of these instead of greasing the baking tin or tray. Both reduce the washing up as the mats go into the dishwasher.
- Oven thermometer – if you think your oven thermostat might not be telling you the truth (mine isn’t), this inexpensive thermometer will set you right. You do need one with large numbers so that you can read it from inside the oven.
- 150 g butter
- 75 g caster sugar
- 150 g plain/all-purpose flour
- 75 g rice flour
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/ 150°C fan/ gas mark 3/ 325°F
- Grease the baking trays if you aren’t using a liner.
For the Shortbread Biscuits:
- Cream the butter and sugar together
- Add the flour, rice flour and salt and mix well, first with a knife, and finally pull into a ball with your handsDon't overwork the dough or it will go oily
- Roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/2 cmIf you use a non-stick surface, such as a silicone mat, you don't need extra flour
- Cut out the biscuits and transfer to the prepared baking trays. Allow a little room for spreading. Gather up the remaining dough and roll out again as beforeHandle the dough as little as possible. If it gets too soft, put it in the fridge for 10 minutes
- Cook for 20 minutes until barely golden brown
- Cool for 5 minutes on the trays, then lightly sprinkle with caster sugar
- Transfer to a wire cooling rack to completely cool
- The shortbread biscuits will keep for a week or two in an airtight tin or plastic container