Sunday, 14 March 2010
Few ingredients are needed to make this delicious and simply effective British biscuit.
Shortbread is an ideal biscuit to make as it is so simple to make and makes an ideal present as it has a long shelf life. (I put some in a mug, wrapped in cellophane and tied with a ribbon and gave to my mother, she was delighted). Shortbread originates and is most commonly associated with Scotland. Not surprising that the most notable shortbread manufacturer is the Scottish company, Walkers, specialising in providing shortbread and fine Scottish specialities. With this being my first attempt at vegan shortbread, the question was would it taste too dry without the essential ingredient of butter? Shortbread is named thus because of its reaction with the butter creating a crumbly (shortening) texture. Thankfully my experiment was a delicious success.
8 oz Plain flour
4oz Icing Sugar
8 oz Vegan margarine
4oz Corn flour or rice flour
Preheat an oven to 200C
Sieve both and icing sugar into a large bowl and mix in margarine.
I like the next bit, use your fingers to make the mixture crumble like breadcrumbs. Then knead into dough. If your dough is too crumbly add a little water or Soya milk to bind the mixture or add more margarine. Don’t add too much water as the shortbread is supposed to be quite dry. Grease a cake tin and press the dough into the tin. Make sure the dough is quite thick to make chunky biscuits and to prevent breaking. You can press down the sides to create the petticoat tail effect and cut into triangles or cut into stripes for the classic shortbread fingers. You could even use a rolling pin and use cookie cutters to make adorable shortbread shapes! Use a fork to mark holes in the dough and pop in an oven at no more than 200 C. Shortbread needs to be cooked slowly so that it does not brown to maintain the classic smooth white colour. Keep checking on your biscuits to make sure they do not brown this should take about 30 minutes. When your biscuits feel slightly hard take out of oven. Don’t worry if they are quite soft they will continue to harden on a cooling rack. Dust with caster sugar and share with friends, or if you are greedy or have no friends eat all yourself hoorah!