White rice flour is important in this shortbread slice recipe – it’s what helps to give that classic crisp and crumbly texture to the biscuit when baked.
250g cold unsalted butter, chopped
160g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
225g plain flour, sifted
90g white rice flour, sifted (see Donna’s Tips, below)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 x quantity cheat’s raspberry jam, cooled (see recipe, below), or shop bought
Step 1 Place the butter, sugar, both the flours and the vanilla in a food processor and process until the dough just comes together. Divide the dough in half, cover one portion with clingfilm and set aside in the fridge. Roll out the remaining half between 2 sheets of nonstick baking paper to 4mm thick. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.
Step 2 Preheat the oven to 160C/gas 2.. Line a large baking tray with nonstick baking paper. Using various-sized star-shaped cutters, cut shapes from the rolled-out dough, reserving any scraps. Place the stars on the tray and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes or until firm enough to handle.
Step 3 Line a 20cm x 30cm slice tin with nonstick baking paper, allowing 3cm of paper to sit above the edges. Combine the dough scraps with the reserved chilled dough and, using the back of a spoon, press it into the base of the tin. Prick the base all over with a fork and bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Step 4 Spread the jam over the shortbread base and top with the stars, overlapping them slightly. Bake for 20 minutes or until the stars are golden. Allow to cool completely in the tin.
Step 5 Remove the slice from the tin and dust with the extra sugar to serve.
When cutting the stars, dip the cookie cutters in a little flour to help prevent the dough from sticking.
To save on stress during the Christmas season, why not make the shortbread dough in advance and freeze it? Cover it tightly in clingfilm and freeze for up to 2 months. Allow it to thaw in the fridge completely before baking.
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Christmas Feasts and Treats by Donna Hay is published by Fourth Estate, price £20. To order a copy for £16 until 8 December, call 01603 648155 or go to mailshop.co.uk; p&p is free on all orders.
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