I was very fortunate to be sent a lovely package of Oxo goodies recently. (Not the gravy Oxo but Oxo bakeware) So don't get excited thinking that I am about to post a recipe for bolognaise!
They sent me a lovely bowl which I have to admit is super. I have broken all my medium baking bowls so this has come in very handy ,and is unbreakable...yea! I also received an oven thermometer (I have wanted one of these for ages) a fabulous offset spatula and a pastry brush.
I had a long hard think as to what I could whip up using my new tools.
My Dad has been in hospital for a looong time and I wanted to make him a little treat to cheer him up, and I thought shortbread would be perfect as it is not too fussy and great to make a cup of horrible hospital tea a little bit more special.
I have been searching for a good shortbread recipe for ages and not been able to find one that I was really happy with. Part of the problem was the ingredients I was using, all the advice is to use a bit of rice flour in the mix, as this gives the shortbread a nice crunch. Unfortunately every time I have needed to make shortbread I have been out of rice flour (isn't it always the way?) However on a recent trip to my local supermarket whilst passing the 'free from' aisle I happened upon some, so I snapped it up.
Again I trawled through my cookbooks, and, not being able to find a recipe I was happy with, I turned to my Nana's scrap book of recipes. It is really special to me to have her collection of newspaper snippets and handwritten recipes (she would be spending most of her day on Pinterest if she were alive now!). She was born in Scotland and lived in Ireland so if anyone knew how to make a good shortbread it would be her.
The recipe is so easy, you just bung (technical term) everything into the bowl and rub it together until it forms a dough.
5oz Plain flour
2oz rice flour or corn meal
6oz unsalted butter in cubes
2oz icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 150C. Line a baking tin with baking paper. Put all the ingredients into a bowl and rub them together with your fingers until they form a dough. Turn out onto the work surface and roll out until 1.5cm thick. Using a spatula cut the dough to form the bars of shortbread. Then create a pattern with a fork or a skewer. Sprinkle over some sugar. Bake for 30-40 mins until firm and golden brown at the edges. Once it is out of the oven gently go over the lines on the shortbread or re-do the holes to make them more visible.
(You can get a downloadable version here.)
I made a get well soon pattern on the shortbread to cheer up my Dad. I used a wooden skewer to make dots that formed a get well soon message. Then I sprinkled some sugar over the whole piece before baking.
Once the shortbread has baked you may need to go over some the dots again, but do it very carefully so as not to crack the pieces. I also cut through the bars where I had made the original marks while the shortbread was still warm.
After the shortbread had cooled I packaged it up to take with me on my next visit to the invalid. Unfortunately he has been in so long that he has started to loose his appetite but I hope these bars made with love will tempt him a little.
I love my new Oxo goodies, the bowl is great as it is easy to get every last scrap of doughy goodness out and it is non-slip (great for a klutz like me). I have wanted a large off set spatula for ages to transport cakes and I really need an oven thermometer so I can make some macarons! Oxo have kindly offered to send one of you lucky followers the same set that I received.
To win your own set, leave me a comment below letting me know what you would love to own from the Oxo cooking and baking range. You can also have extra entry into the draw if you are a follower of my blog/Twitter/Facebook or if you link to this giveaway on your own blog/Twitter/Facebook . But please tell me via the comments below or I won't know. The competition is open to everyone.
I will draw the lucky name out of a hat on Sunday 25th November 12pm BST.
I'm really sorry but this giveaway is only open to residents of the UK.
I haven't received payment for this post but I did receive the Oxo products as shown.
(Keep you eyes peeled for another giveaway later this week!)