Sugar fingers

Sugar fingers, originally uploaded by kitschenette.

I made shortbread from the River Cottage Family Cookbook for afternoon tea and Max couldn’t resist helping himself to some sugary crumbs before the first slice was eaten (note green playdough on his fingers, remnants of the T-Rex necklaces he made earlier in the afternoon).

The shortbread was good, despite having to substitute cornflour for rice flour in the recipe, and very simple, a good one to make with kids as it doesn’t require much mixing or other technique, merely rubbing the dry ingredients with the butter and pressing into a cake tin (don’t even have to bother greasing or lining the tin).

And, it looked super lovely, sweetly pale and sprinkled with vanilla sugar from my big glass bottle of lumpy, vanilla-soaked sugar.

Shortbread, from the River Cottage Family Cookbook

125g plain flour
30g rice flour (I used cornflour, I don’t know if this is a suitable substitute but it tasted good in the end!)
pinch of salt
100g butter, room temperature
50g castor sugar, plus 1 tsp for sprinkling (I used vanilla sugar)

How

– Preheat oven to 160°C
– Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl
– Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the dry ingredients until it all looks rather sandy.
– Clump the mixture together until it resembles a buttery ball (try not to work the mix too much, as it makes the shortbread tough)
– Press the mix GENTLY into a shallow cake tin (mine was 18cm) until an even layer has been formed.
– Bake for 15 – 20 mins or until the shortbread has just the faintest tinge of gold.
– Take out and leave on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with the extra castor sugar.
– With a sharp knife, cut the shortbread into desired shapes – wedges, squares etc.
– Leave to cool completely in tin until firm and brittle, then remove.
– Best with tea, if you please!

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