Portion/Yield:Makes about 30 biscuits
Mr P enjoys a good biscuit and sometimes the baking bug bites him. When he starts to bake, I get a little nervous though as he generates quite a few dirty bowls, cups, spoons and all sorts, and the cleaning up mission usually falls down to me.
He deserves some credit for this recipe, and luckily for me on the washing-up front, he only used one bowl. Saying that, his enthusiasm was short-lived though because once the dough was made, rolled out and chilling in the fridge, I then had to finish off, cutting the dough into shapes and baking them. It was more of a team effort in the end, but he did make me smile and I would not wish for him to be any other way.
These biscuits are pretty good and I particularly like the addition of the powdered milk. I asked Mr P why milk and his reply was that when he first met me I used to make the most amazing milk ice cream and he wanted to recreate a version of that taste memory. Aw, how sweet, there is a romantic hidden in there somewhere after all!
Ingredients & Method
- 125g plain flour
- 75g powdered milk, plus 1 teaspoon for dusting
- 50g caster sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
- 1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out
- a pinch of table salt
- 100g chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Place the flour, powdered milk, sugar, vanilla seeds and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour mixture using your fingertips until the mixture is all coming together.
Place 1 large sheet of non-stick baking paper on the work surface, tip the shortbread mixture onto the paper and push it together. Place another large sheet of non-stick baking paper on top and press down firmly, then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a rectangle about 5mm thick. Transfer the rolled-out dough (still between the sheets of baking paper) to a large tray or baking sheet, then chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 3 and line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
Remove the dough from the fridge, remove the top sheet of paper, then use a knife and ruler to cut the biscuits into 6.5 x 3cm rectangles. Carefully transfer the biscuits to the lined baking trays, leaving a 1cm gap between each one, then use a plain piping nozzle with a 3mm-wide tip to stamp out two holes in each biscuit (see photo).
Bake the biscuits in the oven for 10–12 minutes or until crisp and just starting to turn pale golden in colour (you want them to be quite pale). Remove from the oven.
In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1 teaspoon powdered milk and 2 tablespoons caster sugar together, then dust the warm biscuits with this sugar/milk powder mixture. Leave the biscuits to cool on the baking trays for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Keep the biscuits in an airtight container in a cool, dry cupboard for up to 5 days. Serve the shortbread biscuits with a cup of tea, in your lunch box or as a snack, or serve them with ice cream or panna cotta.
The rolled-out unbaked shortbread dough (still between the sheets of baking paper) will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen like this for up to 3 months. If frozen, when required, simply defrost the rolled-out dough in the fridge overnight (keeping it between the sheets of baking paper), then cut out and bake as directed above.