Christmas shortbread biscuit

Yields 20 traditional plain or whisky mincemeat shortbreads

35g/1 1/2oz icing sugar, sieved

35g/1 1/2oz caster sugar

125g/4 1/2 oz unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

250g/8oz plain flour, sieved 3 times

200g/7oz half a jar of good quality mincemeat, optional

Good slug of whisky, optional

Caster sugar to dust


1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter, caster sugar and icing sugar well with a wooden spoon, then add the sieved flour. The optional mincemeat and slug of whisky can be added at this stage if you’re making an adult version.

2. Using your fingertips, combine the mixture well until you have a firm but dry textured dough. The shorter the time you mix, the more delicate the shortbread biscuits will be.

3. Place the crumbly mixture into a lined, based, buttered 20cm/8’’ fluted flan tin or Victoria sandwich tin.

4. Gently push down with your warm hands so the dough becomes smooth and levels out.

5. Using a small glass or cup, make an indent in the centre of the dough and cut into quarters.

6. Divide the outer dough into quarters, scoring with a sharp knife half way through the dough.

7. Then cut in half again forming eight pieces.

8. Finally cut the eight pieces in half, giving you in total 16 biscuits.

9. Finish off by pinching the outer edge of the dough between thumb and forefinger for a professional finish.

10. Allow to rest for 30 minutes, ideally in the fridge, before baking to firm up the butter.

11. Bake in a preheated oven 170c/gas mark 3 for around 30 to 35 minutes.

12. Colour is a good indicator that the shortbread is done: you’re aiming for a lovely pale gold all over colour, but if the edges start to look dark then you’re in danger of burning the shortbread and the dog will become excited.

13. Once baked to perfection, lightly dust with caster sugar.

14. Using a shape knife, score through the lines before it sets.

15. Allow to cool fully in the tin before turning out.

16. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

17. Double the recipe up and make both at one go, ideal homemade Christmas baking gifts!