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    Shortbread Trees

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    Shortbread Trees

    Makes: The following recipes each make 4 x 20cm-long trees

    Ingredients

    • 120g butter, at room temperature
    • 60g caster sugar
    • 120g flour
    • 60g rice flour or corn flour

    Method

    1. Put the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and briefly process until just blended. Then, using your hands, work together until fully blended.
    2. Roll out on an icing sugar-dusted surface to a 3mm thickness, or thicker if you are cutting out large, long shapes. Cut out the tree and trunk shapes you desire. Place on a baking sheet and bake on a high shelf in a 150°C/gas 2 oven for 30 minutes.
    3. Cool the biscuits on a rack. Store in a tin to keep them crisp. Only ice and wrap them the day before they are to be given. Arrange in a shallow, paper-lined box, protected with tissue.

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    Variation

    Iced Poppy Seed Tree
    Regular shortbread tree, iced, and sprinkled with poppy seeds. To ice the biscuits, use icing sugar mixed with enough water to make a smooth paste, ensuring it is not runny. Put into a small plastic freezer bag, snip off the corner to make a small hole and pipe on. Dust with poppy seeds immediately and press on gently.

    Cinnamon and Ginger Tree
    Cook in the same way as the method outlined for the regular shortbread tree. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder to the pastry dough before baking.

    Cocoa Tree
    Regular shortbread top with cocoa shortbread base (substitute 60g cocoa for the rice flour or corn flour in regular shortbread). Overlap cut-out square-shaped trunks onto a base of triangular tree top by about 3mm, and lightly press to hold, then bake.

    Nut Tree
    Regular shortbread studded with nut kernels. Press the nuts into the shortbread before baking. Use apricot kernels; sliced, peeled and blanched almonds; or pine nuts.

    Triangle Trees
    Make equal quantities of regular shortbread and cocoa shortbread. Form each into a long sausage (about 2.5cm diameter) and press together. Slice into 5cm lengths. Place each in turn on an icing sugar-dusted board, both colours upward, and roll out flat. Cut out a triangle from each and bake as above. Stack into square boxes between layers of tissue paper.

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