the easiest crumbliest shortbread – thanks Mum x

easiest shortbread

This easiest shortbread is a recipe that has been a part of my family as long as I can remember. It was always in the biscuit tin when we went on holidays and my Mum made it for many a summer fair, various picnics and parties. I remember making it with her as a child on rainy afternoons, in fact it was what earned me my first Brownie badge. I made it along with a cup of tea before ironing a tea towel at a local old lady’s house to earn my homemaker badge. I must have known then that a future in food was awaiting me.

As an entrepreneurial 15 year old I somehow negotiated with the manager of our school canteen that I would supply her a couple of trays of this yummy shortbread every week for a pretty decent wedge of cash. My poor Mum ended up buying all the ingredients and making it for me for months until she sat me down to have a word about the fact she never saw any of the profits.

So as an apology (20 years late – sorry Mum) I will give her the glory she deserves and share this recipe with you.

You can either make it as a round and cut it into wedges (petticoat tails) or in a swiss roll tin (cookie sheet) and cut it into rectangular bars. It also freezes well, handy if you need to stop yourself eating it all at once.

I love its served with ice cream and berries as dessert.

12 oz (340g) plain all purpose flour
4oz (115g) sugar
2 oz (55g) ground rice or polenta
8 oz (230g) butter, softened to room temperature (hold onto the butter paper)
Pinch of salt
Zest of a lemon or orange
To make
1.  Pre-heat the oven to 190c (170c fan) or 375f (340F convection)
2.  Put all the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until it forms sticky crumbs and starts to come together. It won’t come totally into a ball but will start to clump
3.  Use the butter paper to grease a cookie sheet (swiss roll tin)
4.  Tip the dough onto the sheet and either push it into all the edges to make a pan full of mixture (which you can then cut into bars after cooking) or shape into a circle, around an inch thick. You’ll need to be firm when you push it into shape as it is crumbly.
5.  Cook for around 15-25 minutes until the edges are turning golden. I like mine to be quite dark as the flavour is more grown up that way.
6. While hot, cut into bars or wedges then leave in the pan until firm and totally cool before removing. The first piece you remove may crumble so please eat this yourself as a cook’s treat and for quality control purposes. Store in an air tight tin for a few days or freeze.


You can now buy the equipment I use in this recipe through my shop. I’ve spent years testing my favourite bits of equipment so rest-assured that whatever I recommend is the best tool for the job and will give you great results without cluttering your kitchen with unused tools. You can also buy my other bits of essential kitchen equipment through this post.

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