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How to make short bread biscuits

Updated on November 20, 2012
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I have been a chef for the last 10 years but I enjoy writing as a hobby. I really enjoy writing for Hubpages because it is fun

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What is short bread?

Basically shortbread is a biscuit (cookie) that is traditionally made from three ingredients:

  1. Sugar
  2. Butter
  3. Flour

Shortbread originated in Scotland and its origins can be traced back to the 12th Century. According to the history books shortbread was altered by Mary Queen of Scots in order to taste more like a dessert back in the 16th Century. Mary Queen of Scots added caraway seeds to the biscuits to give them a more refined flavour. It was during the 16th Century that shortbread began to be cut into triangle shapes. These triangle shaped shortbread biscuits became known as petticoat tails due to their shape. Shortbread is still made into petticoat tails now-a-days.

In modern times shortbread recipes have evolved and adapted to the changing tastes of the populace at large. Most store bought shortbread is not made from just three ingredients they have extra ingredients added to them to make them more palatable for people. Some ingredients that are used in modern day shortbread includes:

  • Icing sugar
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Salt
  • Fruit

The following recipe for shortbread is really easy to follow and doesn't veer off too much from the traditional shortbread recipe. Shortbread is excellent for special occasions and can be cut into a variety of festive shapes. For example, you could make Christmas shortbread and cut the biscuits into the shape of Christmas trees or stars, you could make an Easter variety and cut them into the shape of Easter eggs etc.

One important thing to note about shortbread is that the taste of the biscuits can alter dramatically depending on the type of butter that you use. If you want to make really delicious shortbread biscuits it is a good idea to use a good quality butter. Avoid using margarine as this will not give the yummy buttery taste that shortbread requires.

Shortbread biscuit

How to make shortbread biscuits
How to make shortbread biscuits | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: Makes approxiamtely 8 biscuits


  • 150g Flain White Flour
  • 4tbsp Rice flour
  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 100g Butter, Good quality butter

Making the Shortbread

  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl and pour in the sugar. Toss in the butter and use your fingers to work the butter through the flour and sugar (you will get your hand messy). Eventually the ingredients should begin to combine and form a dough like mass. Knead the dough well.
  2. Roll out the dough onto a floured surface (to prevent it sticking to the surface) and cut it into shapes using what ever cookie cutters you wish to use. If you don't have cookie cutters you can pack the dough into a sandwich tin and break the biscuit up after cooking. Use a fork you prick holes into the cut up dough.
  3. Place the dough into the middle of an oven and bake the biscuits at 170*C (Gas mark 3) for about 30 minutes. You will know that the biscuits are ready to remove from the oven when they become firm and go a pale golden colour. (If you have used a sandwich tin score the shortbread with a knife into squares or triangles to make it easy to break them up once cooled). Place the shortbread on a wire rack to cool.
  4. (Optional) Once the shortbread is cool you can dust it with icing sugar or caster sugar. You could even dip it into melted chocolate for a chocolate shortbread treat


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