Recipe Trial: Shortbread from Seasonal Baking by Fiona Cairns


Every couple of weeks I like to try out a recipe from one of my many cookbooks. Here is how my latest attempt turned out:


The recipe: Christmas Shortbread from Seasonal Baking by Fiona Cairns. This is baking book is seriously gorgeous. The photography is scrumptious and the the book is split into four sections, one for each season with a different coloured ribbon to bookmark each one. I had promised myself I wasn’t going to buy any more cookbooks but then I saw this one in our local garden centre and couldn’t resist. Although these are called Christmas shortbread biscuits I think you can eat these all year round so decided to make them anyway.

Time and Date: Wednesday 24th January, in the afternoon with help from Orla on a day that she decided not to nap.

Expectations: My expectations were so a fairly simple recipe that would make a good mother/daughter activity on a wet afternoon. I was hoping for high levels of bonding followed by a soul warming biscuit treat!

Difficulty level: Super low; there are only four ingredients! But the difficulty level rose somewhat as Orla was terrified of the mixer, and then as I was assuring her that the mixer was safe it started making a funny noise, then producing a very hot electric smell. I had to turn it off and mix the rest by hand. But cutting the shapes out was fun to do with Orla, she was an enthusiastic helper!

Any variations to the recipe: I used 10g less of cornflour….. because I ran out! So frustrating. The cool thing with this book though is that there are half a dozen variations on this recipe in the book. So she tells you how to make cranberry shortbread, or caramel sandwiches, or almond shortbread. I thought that was a nice touch.

Results: Every so slightly overdone shortbread that was a touch darker than I would have liked but it definetly tasted like shortbread. Nice and buttery!

Who ate it: Rob, Orla and me! The cutters I used were quite big and the receipe didn’t make a huge dough so there were only a few biscuits. That can be a good thing. Some recipes I’ve used in the past have left me with 40 biscuits to shift.

Would I make it again: Yes, and next time I would try one of the variations. Although I may have to get a new mixer first!

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