Mr CC is currently going through a second childhood and enjoying a renewed interest in all things dinosaur. When we saw these dinosaur biscuit cutters it took him about 30 seconds to decide they needed to be put to use making shortbread. Remembering the old Norwegian proverb that, biscuits are made with butter and love, I rolled up my sleeves and set to work! (NB. Regarding the dinosaur at the bottom of the next picture – I wasn’t sure what end his eye should go so I did half at one end, half at the other. Looking at the picture now, I’m pretty sure that’s the wrong end!)
Many shortbread recipes, particularly the more traditional ones, require you to push the dough into a mould rather than roll and cut. I hunted for a recipe that could be rolled and came across this one for brown sugar shortbread with a hint of spice. This sounded a winner! I have made shortbread biscuits before (a long time ago – pre blog) and found them tricky to roll out – these were a doddle.
The biscuit has the lovely shortness that you associate with shortbread – that crumbly butteriness, but I also really liked the addition of brown sugar gave the biscuit a rich flavour. The hint of spice is not at all over-powering and just adds some interest in the background.
I love it when baking fills my home with lovely aromas and these biscuits are right up there with the best! The brown sugar filled my flat with what I can only describe as a Christmassy treacle waft – the sort of delicious smell that makes you feel happy!
Hard to say how many biscuits you will get as cutter sizes vary. This basic mix is quite generous but I made 1.5x the quantities and the recipe scales up without any problems.
Now if I may digress – here’s a little something I’m working on for Christmas dessert...I’ll post it on the site shortly (definitely in time for Christmas). It may have taken 10 months but I’ve finally mustered up courage to use the gorgeous copper jelly tin Mr CC got me for Christmas last year.
25og unsalted butter, at room temperature
140g soft brown sugar – I used half dark brown, half light brown
250g plain flour
90g rice flour
½ teaspoon mixed spice
small pinch of salt
Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add the flours, spice and salt and mix gently until just starting to form a soft dough – I brought the dough together with my hands.
The dough will require a little light kneading to bring it into a nice, smooth, short (i.e. buttery) dough.
Cut the dough into four and wrap individually in clingfilm – shape the dough into patties as it will make it easier to roll.
Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 160˚C/fan oven 140˚C/315˚F/Gas mark 2-3.
Lightly flour a sheet of clingfilm and roll one of the dough patties out between the clingfilm – you’re aiming for a thickness of approx ½ cm.
Use the cutter of your choice and place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Leave a gap between the biscuits as they will expand – but not much.
The leftover dough will re-roll and can be used. It is very good natured for a shortbread and I re-rolled my scraps numerous times with no loss of quality.
Repeat this process with the remaining 3 patties of dough.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until firm to the touch – use your judgement as it all depends on your oven and the thickness of your biscuits. One tray of mine took 25 minutes, whereas another was nearer 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool, on the trays, for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Biscuits are soft on coming out of the oven and if you try to lift them too soon they will crumble.
When completely cool store in an airtight container.
Decorate as you wish before serving but, to keep the biscuit crisp, leave the decorating as late as possible.
Bask in the glory at the wonderful thing you have created.Eat