Shirley’s Shortbread Shapes

9:00 pm on 13 September 2004

Homemade shortbread with its distinctive texture and buttery flavour, bears little relation to the mass-produced store-bought variety. Caster sugar ensures a good texture, so don’t replace it with plain sugar. Shortbread cut into attractive shapes looks particularly interesting and makes great gifts


  • 225g butter, softened
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 2 cups standard (plain) flour
  • 1 cup cornflour


Heat oven to 200°C (190°C fanbake), with the rack just below the middle. Line a baking tray with baking paper or a Teflon liner.

Beat together the softened (but not melted) butter and caster sugar in a food processor or mixer until light and fluffy. Add the sifted flour and cornflour, and mix again until well blended.

Chill the dough if it is too soft to handle easily, then roll it out about 1cm thick (between two layers of baking paper if you like). Cut in rectangles, or use floured cutters make shapes to suit the occasion e.g. stars for Christmas or hearts for someone special. Carefully lift shapes onto the prepared baking tray and prick or mark with a fork to prevent uneven rising.

Bake for about 15 minutes, watching carefully towards the end of the cooking time. As soon as the edges brown slightly, take from the oven. While warm, lift carefully onto a cooling rack. When cold, store shortbread in an airtight container, or freeze if you are planning to keep it for more than 2 weeks before giving it away as gifts.

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