Vanilla Teddy Bear Shortbread

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I have been treated to home-made shortbread not once but twice in the last month!

The first arrived in the post from the mother of one of my favourite friends, who I had the pleasure of meeting at their wedding in June. We got talking about shortbread, as you do, and she promised to send me some. Mrs B  is now obviously also on my favourite list.

The second was while we were away in Somerset; The lovely Mrs Wilcox had knocked up a delicious welcome batch for us when we arrived at The Granary (see my next post).

So, I felt it only polite to bake some myself, and couldn’t believe how simple it was. The most basic recipes I found need only three ingredients: cast sugar, plain flour and butter, and hey presto a scrummy afternoon tea treat is yours in a jiffy.

So here is my toddler friendly version that Leo helped to make and of course eat!

Easy Vanilla Shortbread

Ingredients

200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g caster sugar or light brown sugar
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
300g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
animal biscuit cutters

Method

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3.

Mix together the butter and sugar, either by hand or using an electric hand whisk, until pale and smooth. Add the vanilla extract, then gently mix in the flour until completely incorporated (try not to work the flour too much or the biscuits will not be so crumbly). Using your hands, squeeze the mixture together into a ball of dough.

Gently roll the dough out to about 5mm/¼in thick (dust the work surface with a little flour if the dough sticks). Cut into shapes using a biscuit cutter. Transfer the biscuits to a baking tray lined with baking parchment (or a non-stick baking tray) and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes to rest (chilling makes them hold their shape better when baking).

Before cooking, sprinkle each biscuit with a pinch of granulated sugar. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until pale golden-brown.

Remove from the oven and transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool.

Devour with a lovely mug of tea or cup of milk!

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