Here is a different spin on the traditional Christmas shortbread. Make a cutter from cardboard or use your own, then colour your own sugar crystals for some decorative fun. A great activity to do with the kids (well) before the big day.
CHRISTMAS SHORTBREAD TREES
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 50 mins plus refrigeration time
Makes: 18 medium trees or 10–12 large trees
- 250g / 2 sticks of unsalted butter
- 150g / 5oz / ¾ cup of caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 200g / 1⅓ cups of plain flour
- 150g / 1 cup of rice flour
- a pinch of salt
- ½ cup of raw sugar
- green food colouring / food gel
- Preheat the oven to 150ºC / 275ºF / Gas mark 1–2.
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk and continue to beat until combined.
- Add plain flour, rice flour and salt and beat on the lowest speed until combined. Do not overmix.
- Place a piece of clingfilm on the bench, and tip the shortbread mixture onto the clingfilm. Press into a flat square (about 2cm / 1 inch) thick. Cover and place in the refrigerator for an hour to chill until firm.
- When ready to roll, cut the mixture into four equal pieces, and return three pieces to the refrigerator.
- Flour the bench or work surface where you will roll the mixture.
- Place the portion of mixture on the floured surface and roll out evenly until it is 1 cm / less than ½ an inch thick.
- Use your cutter, cut into desired tree shape. If using your own cardboard template, use a pastry scraper to cut the edges straight.
- Place trees on a baking tray lined with baking / parchment paper.
- Repeat with other portions of shortbread mixture.
- Make the coloured sugar by combining the raw sugar with drops of gel or colouring. Rub the colour into the sugar using your hands.
- Sprinkle the coloured sugar onto the trees evenly.
- Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and move trees onto a cooling rack for 10 minutes until cool.
- Package them to give as presents or store in an airtight container to prevent them from going soft until ready to serve.
They make a great placeholder on a napkin on Christmas day. Don’t be tempted to hang on the Christmas tree as they will be too soft. Use our gingerbread star recipe instead for decorations.