|My pretty utensils|
|A generous slather of nutella|
|The sandwiching is a lot of fun|
It's a little fiddly and time-consuming, but really rather therapeutic. Of course, you could whip up a batch more quickly and easily by doing basic biscuits, but where's the fun in that? Having pretty cutters (just like pretty cupcake cases) really can make all the difference. I love the "home-made" look of baked goods, and I'm no pro when it comes to food presentation, but sometimes when food looks good it then tastes better as a result.
Flower-shaped biscuits are just perfect for summer, and these cutters worked brilliantly. Despite being plastic, they cut through my dough without a problem. Having a range of sizes is really useful, and they're dishwasher-safe too, hoorah!
Shortbread and strawberries is a classic summer treat, maybe with a smidge of cream on the side, or perhaps try sticking a little piece of shortbread into a bowl of Eton Mess. Yum! Even the aforementioned Scottish father enjoys these shortbread, and he doesn't like anything sweet. I kid you not. What a nutter. So yeah, Scottish seal of approval YAY!
|What a pudding.|
I modified Fiona Cairns' recipe from her lovely Bake & Decorate book. It's hard to say how many biscuits this makes though, as it depends on the size of your cutters and how many you choose to turn into jammy sandwiches. Can you ever have too much shortbread though? (I think not.)
|I think they still look good with jam poking out the sides|
200g unsalted butter, softened (use my tip to quickly bring your butter to room temperature!)
80g golden caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour, plus plenty more for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp per biscuit jam, nutella, dulce de leche etc
icing sugar, for dusting
|I imagine Paul and Mary would have something to say about this. Not sure what, but hey.|
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale using a handheld electric whisk. Sieve the flour, cornflour and salt into another bowl. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mix, mixing briefly after each addition until it binds together. Don't be alarmed if it seems relatively wet.
|Perfectly soft - my finger tip leaves a mark.|
|Out of the fridge and ready to roll. (Ha!)|
3. On a floured surface and with floured hands, knead the refrigerated dough to check the consistency - add more flour if it needs it. (If you roll it out and then can't lift your cut shapes off the surface as the dough is too sticky, you'll know you need to add more flour and keep working it until it comes together better.) Roll the dough out to about 3-5mm thick with a floured rolling pin. Don't be afraid to keep adding flour as you go. You need a lot of the stuff. Go crazy.
4. Using the cutters of your choice, start cutting your flowers. To make the jammy sandwiches, make sure you cut two flowers of the same size, then use a smaller flower to cut out the middle of one of them. Obviously you still bake the cut-out centre (mum, the sis and I love the bite-size flowers!)
|Using a spatula to place the cookies on the baking tray.|
|Warm out of the oven|
|Apricot is a winner|
If ya fancy making your own like mine, buy your own Six Piece Flower Shaped Cookie Cutter Set for a mere £4 here. They also have heart, stars and loads more adorable shapes on offer. Tempting much?