These easy shortbread stars are so crispy and buttery, and taste to moreish! It's hard to stop at eating just one. They have a melt-in-the-mouth texture and an incredible buttery taste, yet they are made with only 3 ingredients. What's more, they only take minutes to mix and bake.
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Easy homemade shortbread
I love homemade shortbread. It's such a delicious biscuit to have on hand for those times when you need to relax with a cup of tea or coffee. This 3 ingredient shortbread recipe is one of my favourites. I've been making it for years and it never fails. I normally make it in a round tin and cut it into triangles, (or petticoat tails as they are sometimes known) in the traditional way. But because Christmas is coming, I decided to make festive shortbread stars instead.
I think you'll love this recipe too.
- You only need three ingredients - can't get much easier than that!
- You can use a food processor to mix it up, or if you don't have one, it mixes just as easily with a wooden spoon and a bit of elbow grease.
- This shortbread doesn't need any frosting - a light dusting of caster sugar on top as the shortbread comes out of the oven is all you need.
- Because this is such an easy recipe, it's perfect for youngsters to make.
- Packed into a pretty tin, this shortbread makes the perfect Christmas gift.
These are the 3 ingredients you will need:
The recipe is very easy to remember. It's just 3 parts flour, 2 parts butter and 1 part sugar by weight. For those of you who use cups or millilitres as measurements (ie volume rather than weight), I've done the conversion for you. Read the paragraph convert and scale the recipe for the details.
Flour - you will need plain all-purpose flour (or cake flour) - not self-raising flour. There is no leavening agent in this recipe.
Butter - salted or unsalted is fine. If you use unsalted butter you may like to add half a teaspoon of salt to the mixture. I just used salted butter instead.
Caster sugar - I like to use caster sugar rather than granulated sugar because caster sugar is finer and dissolves more easily into the dough. If you only have granulated sugar, you can use it but you will have to beat it with the butter for a bit longer to give the sugar time to break down and incorporate into the butter.
Vanilla essence - this is optional. I don't normally use it in this recipe but you can add 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence if you like.
How to make homemade shortbread
I like to make the shortbread in a food processor because it takes all the hard work out of creaming the butter and sugar. You can use a wooden spoon and a mixing bowl if you prefer, but you will have to beat the butter and sugar for much longer to get the creamy consistency we are looking for.
- Start off by creaming the butter and sugar in a food processor. You should let the food processor run for at least three minutes until all the sugar is incorporated into the butter, and the mixture has turned into a pale and creamy paste (image 1 above).
- Add the flour (about one quarter at a time) and process until just combined (image 2 above). Once the flour has been fully incorporated the dough should come together if you squeeze it gently in your fingers (image 3 above).
- Tip the flour mixture from the food processor and press it gently together into a soft ball. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and place the dough into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to allow the butter to harden slightly.
Roll and bake
- Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to about one-quarter of an inch in thickness and cut into shapes using a star cutter (image 1 above).
- You can press any remaining scraps of pastry together and re-roll to get more biscuits. If you find the pastry becomes greasy and difficult to roll, just put it back in the refrigerator for a few minutes to let the butter harden again.
- Place the biscuits onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment or a silicone baking mat to prevent them from sticking to the baking tray. Prick the shortbread with a fork to form the distinctive holes (image 2 above).
- For an even crispier biscuit, refrigerate the tray of biscuits for about 15 minutes before putting it into the oven. (I didn't bother with this step and my shortbread had the perfect texture).
- Bake in a preheated oven (180C / 350F) for 10 to 12 minutes. Don't do as I did and let them get too brown. You need to check on them at the 10-minute mark and remove them from the oven as soon as they show signs of browning. I turned my back for literally a few seconds! You will know your shortbread is cooked (even if it hasn't started to brown) when it starts to smell like biscuits rather than dough.
- Dust the biscuits lightly with a little extra caster sugar as soon as they come out of the oven, while they are still hot. The biscuits will be very soft as they come out of the oven, but they will harden and turn crispy as they cool.
- Let them cool on the baking tray and then store them in an airtight tin in a cool place. These biscuits will stay fresh for up to a week.
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Convert and scale the shortbread recipe
As I mentioned above, you need a ratio of 3 : 2 : 1, for the flour, butter, and sugar.
Unfortunately, this ratio will only work for weight-based measurements such as grams and ounces. This is because a cup of sugar and a cup of flour both take up the same volume, but a cup of sugar weighs more than a cup of flour on a scale.
Don't worry, I've done the conversion from weight to volume for you in the tables below, and scaled the recipe so you can easily make larger or smaller batches.
I've rounded up the cup measurements to the most sensible amount (ie the nearest quarter cup) so you may find you get one or two extra biscuits if you use the cup measurements.
8 shortbread stars
|½ cup + 2 Tbsp
16 shortbread stars (this is in the recipe card)
24 shortbread stars
|¼ cup + 3 Tbsp
32 shortbread stars
|½ cup + 2 Tbsp
Shortbread is pricked with a fork to allow the heat to penetrate easily and ensure that the shortbread cooks evenly. The distinctive holes have become synonymous with shortbread.
Shortbread originated in Scotland, and Mary, Queen of Scots, who lived in the mid-16th century, was said to be very fond of Petticoat Tails.
In baking terms, a dough is termed 'short' if it has a high proportion of butter (or fat) to flour. Shortbread was originally made with scraps of dough left over from bread-making. Over the years it evolved, with the addition of sugar, and the yeast being replaced with butter.
Save for later
If you would like to make these shortbread stars yourself, why not pin the recipe to one of your Pinterest boards so you can find it easily? Just click on the image below.
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You may also like to try some of my other biscuit recipes.
Easy shortbread stars - only 3 ingredients
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 6 ounces / 180 grams plain all-purpose flour
- 4 ounces / 120 grams butter
- 2 ounces / 60 grams caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar to sprinkle on top of the biscuits
- ½ teaspoon salt optional
- ½ teaspoon vanilla essence optional
- Cream the butter and sugar together using either a food processor or a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. The mixture should come together into a creamy paste.
- Add the flour (¼ at a time) and process until just combined. The dough should hold its shape when squeezed gently in your fingers.
- Once combined, tip the mixture out of the food processor and press it together with your fingertips until it forms a smooth ball.
- Wrap the dough in clingfilm and place it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F
- Roll the chilled pastry to ¼-inch thickness and cut it into shapes using a star cutter.
- Place the biscuits onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment or a silicone baking mat to prevent them from sticking to the baking tray. Prick the shortbread with a fork to form the distinctive holes.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and dust the biscuits lightly with caster sugar while they are still hot.
- Allow them to cool on the baking sheet and then transfer them to an airtight tin.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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