An amount of 00 flour
Half butter to flour
Half sugar to butter
(I normally do 8oz flour, 4oz butter, 2oz sugar)
Few drops of almond extract or a couple (not more) of finely-grated bitter
almonds if you have them.
Cream the softened butter with the sugar, add the extract/almonds and the
sifted flour, mix to combine all the ingredients in a mass. If they don't
combine easily, add a little more butter - flour varies from batch to
batch - then roll out and cut into biscuits, prick each biscuit with a
fork several times for traditional pattern and to ensure no rising, place
on top-quality Lakeland baking sheet purchased to save on postage, GM4 or
equivalent for about 15-20 minute depending on oven. They should be
an even, pale straw colour. Lift onto cooling rack placed on a tea-tray
(to catch the residue of the caster sugar with which you generously dredge
the biscuits when cool).
If you haven't got 00 flour, use ordinary plain flour, but substitute a
couple of tablespoons of the flour for either rice flour or cornflour.
Depending on your tastes in these matters, you can also shove a half a
glacé cherry in the centre of each biscuit before baking, for
almond-cherry shortbread. Or mix in a packet of plain chocolate chips.
The thickness of shortbread is a personal thing - I don't like mine too
'wodgy' so tend to get 2 dozen biscuits out of a batch made with 8oz flour
- if you prefer them quite thick you'll get fewer biscuits and they'll
need longer cooking.