Monday 23 December 2013

Christmas noms: Cinnamon shortbread

Leaving your Christmas baking till last minute too?
We've just come back from an epic five day tramping trip down in Nelson Lakes which meant we had to be really organised early on for Christmas this year or we'd have to do everything last minute.

Three guesses for which option ended up happening. 

Luckily, I had an inkling we might not get our act together and tried out this recipe for Cinnamon Shortbread the Baking for Hospice Christmas round beforehand just so I had some last minute Christmas baking ideas up my sleeve.

This recipe is super quick and makes a gorgeous buttery crispy crumbly cookie with a festive cinnamon kick.   It's actually best baked without chilling so takes no time to whip a batch up and uses ingredients you normally have in your pantry.  Just what you need for that Christmas panic-bake.

Cinnamon shortbread

Makes around 30 cookies

225 g butter, softened
170 g castor sugar

1 small egg
390 g (give or take) plain flour, sifted (I usually only end up using ~320g of it)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt

Optional: cinnamon sugar to sprinkle (~1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to 1 Tablespoon white sugar) - definitely add this if you want a real cinnamon kick. 

1.  Preheat the oven to 150oC on fanbake and line two cookie trays with baking paper. Using an electric beater, beat softened butter and sugar together until  fluffy (takes around 2 solid minutes of beating).

2.  Add egg, salt, and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes till fluffy and light.

3.  Add half the flour, sift in all the ground cinnamon and mix gently with a knife till just incorporated.  Add half of the rest of the flour and mix again.  And keep adding until you get a very soft dough that holds together. The mixture should not be too sticky but needs to be wet enough to hold together, kinda like soft playdough.  You might not need all the flour or you may need to add a little more (depends how big your egg was).  I usually err on the side of less flour and only end up using 3/4 of the flour ~ 320g.

4.  Shape half the dough at a time into a rough log - wrapping the dough in plastic wrap then twisting the ends like a lolly to make a dough sausage makes it easier but try and handle the dough as little as you can so the cookies won't be tough.

5.   Cut the log into 1 cm discs and arrange on the two baking trays around 1 inch apart.  Sprinkle over with cinnamon sugar and prick with a fork.

6.  Bake both trays at the same time for 20 minutes turning once in the middle (top tray to bottom, bottom tray to top).  The shortbread should only be ever so slightly golden on top.

7. Cool on the tray for around 2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.  They are delicious still warm but just as good when completely cool and crumbly.  The cookies will keep in an airtight container for around 4 days.

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