“For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home.” ~ W.J. Ronald Tucker
This is a super recipe. It’s rich and buttery, and the lovely crispness of the shortbread goes perfectly with a cup of tea. I like their rustic style too. It speaks of kitchens and aprons and being made with love. (If you prefer your biscuits to look perfectly perfect rather than rustic, see note at bottom of page.)
These shortbread make a an easy and thoughtful home-made Christmas gift, and are good to have on hand when friends pop by for a visit.
The recipe can also be made gluten-free or vegan very easily – simple substitutes are listed below.
250 grams butter (1 cup), 1/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup icing sugar (powdered or confectioners sugar), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/3 cup cornflour (cornstarch for my USA friends!), 2 and 1/3 cups plain flour, 1 cup of chopped raw macadamia nuts, 1/3 cup of raw sugar (optional).
This works fabulously well with gluten-free flour. If you’re vegan or dairy-free use your favourite butter alternative.
Hint: use level cups of flours and sugars rather than generous ones.
Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).
Melt the butter over low heat. Cool slightly.
Sift icing sugar, sugar and cornflour into a large bowl. PS. How cute are these stackable little duck measuring cups that my Nana gave me many years ago? I totally adore them!
Pour over the melted butter. Beat until thick and creamy. You could use a spoon or hand beaters but I use my trusty electric beaters. The thickened mix will be the consistency of thick custard. Be patient. It takes a minute or two for the magic to work.
Then add in the sifted flour. Mix until combined. The mixture will be crumbly and moist. Add the macadamia nuts and mix well to distribute them evenly.
Cover a couple of oven-proof trays with baking paper.
Place the raw sugar into a small bowl.
Take a teaspoon of mixture and roll it into a ball. Press the ball into the bowl of sugar, and then place the ball sugar side up on the prepared tray.
Leave some space between each of the biscuits as they will spread slightly. Press the biscuits down gently with the tines of a fork. You could also use your hand to do this, but the fork tines make pretty marks.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Leave on trays for five minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Package to give as gifts, or store in an airtight container to serve with your next cuppa.
Santa is quite partial to these shortbread as well.
1/2 cup of macadamias and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
1 cup of macadamias and 2 tablespoons chopped glace ginger
1 cup of chocolate chips
Or just omit the nuts and leave them plain
NOTE: If you are a perfectionist who cannot abide rustic-looking biscuits, make sure that your macadamia nuts are cut quite small. Divide the dough in half, roll into two cylinders, cover in cling wrap and pop in the fridge for an hour until firm. Now you will be able to slice perfect circles that give biscuits with no obvious lumpy bits. You may or may not wish to mar the perfection with fork tines or sugar.