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Classic British shortbread biscuits

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With Easter just around the corner (6-9 April) and the nation gearing up for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations (2-5 June), there’s no better time to perfect your baking technique. The trick to shortbread is precision, so, aside from the dollop of thick cream and fresh strawberries at the end, try to make everything in this recipe as exact as possible.

Preparation time:

35 minutes

Baking time:

20 minutes

Ingredients (makes 20):

  • 165g salted butter
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 5 tsps cornflour
  • 35g rice flour
  • 200g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Strawberries
  • Thick cream

Method:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 170˚C (325˚F, gas mark 3). In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar together until creamy and fluffy.

Step 2: In another bowl, sift the plain flour, cornflour and rice flour together. Add a quarter of this mixture to the creamed butter and stir. Add another quarter and rub the mixture together using your fingertips. Add the remaining flour and mix with your fingers.

Step 3: Knead gently into a malleable ball of dough. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out until about 1cm thick. Stamp out discs with the cookie cutter and arrange 4cm apart on a piece of baking parchment. Do this until all the dough is used up.

Step 4: Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the bases of the biscuits are golden and the tops are almost firm. Remove and allow to cool. Serve as they are or add strawberries and cream.

From Meg Rivers Home Baking (£16.99, Ryland, Peters and Small)

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