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.
The best gift for Christmas is the gift of organisation. Give the PlanBuyCook meal planning app – available here.