No shortcuts with this sweet treat

Christmas trees are up, advent calendars are open, so now’s the time to get stuck into some serious prep for a magical Christmas with our fantastically festive shortbread recipe.

When we think of traditional shortbread we imagine crumbly and buttery shortbread fingers or petticoat tails that melt in the mouth and leave a sweet vanilla flavour in your mouth.

This recipe takes all of those elements and injects them with an extra taste twist.

The mixed spice and cloves radiate festive flavours in every bite – and to give these crumbly Christmas treats an extra lift then simply add a teaspoon of orange zest or half a teaspoon of ground ginger to the mix. I personally like an extra level of cinnamon to be present in the bake so I put half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to the mix. The addition of a strong spice such as cinnamon allows the flavour of the biscuits to last a little longer on the palate.

These biscuits will easily freeze so you’ll be able to pull these treats out at a moment’s notice over Christmas or pop them in someone’s stocking for a special homemade gift.

Don’t forget you can treat your loved ones to a gift voucher (starting at just £10) for the course of their choice at The Cooking School at Dean Clough – visit www.thecookingschool.co.uk to buy yours.

CHRISTMAS SHORTBREAD

(This recipe makes up to 15 biscuits)

Ingredients

150g plain flour

or 100g plain flour and 50g semolina or 50g ground rice

½ level teaspoon mixed spice

100g butter

50g caster sugar

10-15 whole cloves

1-2 sugar lumps - optional

Equipment

- mixing bowl

- teaspoon

- table knife

- cling film

- baking tray – greased

- sharp knife

How to make it

1. Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Place the flour (or flour and semolina or flour and ground rice), mixed spice, caster sugar and butter in the mixing bowl.

2. With a table knife, cut the butter into the flour. Using your fingertips rub the butter into the flour until it begins to ‘clump’ together.

3. Gather the mixture to a dough. Shape into a cylinder, wrap in cling film and chill until firm.

4. Cut the chilled dough into discs, place on the greased baking sheet. Place a clove in each biscuit. Crush the sugar cubes (if using) and sprinkle each biscuit with it.

5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until barely golden. (The shortbread will darken and firm up as it cools).