Traditional shortbread never fails to please anyone whether you want a buttery melt in the mouth biscuit, dunking biscuit or just a taste of sugar and butter treat, yes unfortunately it doesn’t do justice to your waist line but I go by the rule of “everything in moderation”. Isn’t it amazing that there are so many variations when baking these delightful treats? Old traditional recipes for shortbread usually consist of caraway seeds and some sort of citrus flavours baked as a large round shortbread and segmented into petticoat tails. As pretty as they still are, biscuit making has evolved and we are lucky to create various designs,flavours and shapes to suit a theme,mood or just for fun. So to fulfill my cravings for something sweet, rich and buttery I pulled out my personal recipe for shortbread which takes me back to my school days. As you all know how much my baking is inspired by spice, a traditional recipe has been infused with flavours which will send your senses wild… wild for more 😉 Well given the week I’ve had, craving for sweet, rich, butter biscuits wasn’t a bad thing especially when infused with citrus orange and gentle notes of roasted fennel, dunk one in tea and you’ll be drooling. Roasting fennel seeds before mixing into the dough releases their natural aromatic oils and flavour which blends perfectly well with citrus orange.
So there’s not a lot to making shortbread is there? Butter, sugar and flour right? Well in theory yes, but there are a few variations dependent on whether you like your shortbread with an added crunch or crumbly and melt in the mouth. Mine’s the latter and the secret in achieving this? Corn flour, yes corn flour enhances that crumbly and melt in the mouth texture, however, if you like an added crunch you can always use rice flour instead. So how do you like your shortbread? Crumbly, crisp, scented, plain or flavoured? Which ever it is, this recipe is simple and takes less than an hour to bake from start to finish so what’s not to love? Oh and not to forget this week its Afternoon tea week and The Great British Bake Off focuses on biscuits so a double celebration 🙂
Fennel and Orange Shortbread Biscuits
Preparation time:30 minutes
Baking time:25 minutes
Makes: approx 20 biscuits
270g Plain flour plus extra
35g Corn flour
200g Softened salted butter
100g Caster sugar plus extra
Zest of one orange
1.5 Tsp Orange extract
1 1/4 Tsp Fennel seeds- dry roasted either in pan over heat or microwave.
1. Using a food processor with a flat blade add all of the above ingredients and blend into a rough dough.
2. Transfer onto a board and bind into a smooth dough, cover in cling film and place in fridge for 10 minutes until slightly firm.
3. Lightly dust work board with flour, roll out the dough to approx 4 mm thick. Using a round cutter, cut out shapes and transfer onto a baking tray leaving a gap of 3-4 cm between each biscuit.
4. Return the trays to the fridge and allow the cut out dough to chill for 10 minutes.
5. Pre heat oven to 150 degree C or 130 C for fan assisted.
6. Bake the biscuits for 25 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven let them cool slightly before sprinkling caster sugar. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Transfer biscuits into an air tight container and they will keep well for a few days ( mind you they didn’t last more than a day in our household)