Shortbread

By User:Dave souza (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Shortbread fingers

Sift 8 ounces of all purpose (tout usage, plain) flour, one ounce of ground semolina and half a teaspoon of salt into a mixing bowl. Using a magic pastry fork, blend in 6 ounces of butter or cooking marge. Add 3 ounces of vanilla sugar, and blend that in. (You make vanilla sugar by putting a vanilla pod in a glass jar and filling the jar with ordinary white sugar, then sealing the jar and leaving it there for a few days or weeks or months.) When the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs, mix in some ice-cold water until it forms a dough. Then wrap in greaseproof (waxed) paper and chill in the fridge for an hour before doing anything with it.

You can then form it into a circle, mark triangles on it, pricl ot all over with a fork, sprinkle it with sugar and bake it at 180 for 40 minutes and then when cool cut it into triangles.

You can flatten it into a tin and mark it into fingers, prick it all over with a fork, and bake it at 180 for 40 minutes and then cut it into fingers.

Or you can add chocolate chips and form it into flattened balls and bake them at 180 until they look like chocolate chip cookies.

Or you can use it as a base for any number of things — butter tarts, cheesecake, yokki, spiced peach tarts, clafouti, mince pies, apple pie — anything where you want a sweet crust. This is my all purpose standard basic no fail base and cookie. Usually my recipes for these things want half this quantity, but for quantum reasons this is the smallest amount it’s possible to make, so you can use the half you want and either just bake the rest as shortbread or do something else with it. The dough keeps for days in the fridge, or¬† you can also freeze it in a ziplock.