ESB Guide to… Traditional Shortbread

Hello everyone,

Welcome back to my blog. I hope you enjoyed my latest post sharing with you my top 5 bakes to cheer you up. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, click here!

Today I want to share with you my recipe for shortbread, a classic biscuit that never loses its place in the baking hall of fame! It is a stalwart favourite in our house for an easy but delicious bake to rustle up in a hurry.

Shortbread began life as ‘biscuit bread’ in the 12th century when left-over bread dough was sweetened and left to dry out in the oven. Over the years, yeast has been exchanged for fat, butter in this case, which gives shortbread it’s name as the fat makes the dough ‘short.’ Shortbread is said to have been a favourite of Mary, Queen of Scots, who liked to eat petticoat tails but I like to make my shortbread in the shape of hearts. Versatile and easy to make, these 3 ingredient shortbread are the perfect addition to an afternoon cup of tea!

To accompany the recipe, here’s my cover of a classic song about baking, If I knew you were coming I’d have baked a cake, played with my trusty yellow ukulele!

Without further ado, here is the recipe…



6 oz (175g) plain flour

4 oz (125g) salted butter, cold and cut in cubes, plus extra for greasing

2 oz (50g) caster sugar, plus extra to sprinkle


A sieve

A large mixing bowl

Cling film

A rolling pin

A heart shaped cutter

A fish slice/ or palette knife

A baking tray

A fork


  1.  Preheat the oven to 160’C and grease a baking tray with soft butter.
  2.  To make the shortbread dough, sieve the flour from a height into a large mixing bowl to add as much air as you can. Add in the caster sugar and butter and rub together. (ESB Top Tip : Rubbing in is when you rub the butter between your thumb and fingers to make pastry or a crumble – the key is to work methodically and delicately through the flour until the butter is evenly distributed!) As the butter starts to soften in your hands and turns into a breadcrumb texture, the dough will come together in clumps in your hands. Gently scrunch it together until you have a rough ball of dough. (ESB Top Tip : See above to see the process in the photos!) 
  3. Place the biscuit dough onto a rectangle cling film, then add another rectangle of cling film the same size on top. Roll the shortbread dough between the two pieces of cling film to stop it sticking to the work surface. (ESB Top Tip : Not adding extra flour to roll out the dough makes the finished biscuit more delicate, as adding additional flour can change the texture – patting out the dough first with your hands makes it easier to roll!)
  4. When the dough is about 1 cm thick, take off the top layer of cling film and use a heart cutter to cut out 16 heart shaped biscuits. Sizes of cutters differ so don’t worry if you end up with more or less! When you have cut as many as you can, re-roll the off-cuts of the dough and cut out biscuits until you can’t make any more.
  5. Transfer the biscuits onto the prepared baking tray and prick each biscuit with fork making rows of indentations to allow the steam to escape during baking. Sprinkle over a little extra sugar to give the biscuits added crunch, before baking in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until they are lightly browned around the edge and dry to the touch. Then take out of the oven and leave to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Enjoy with an afternoon cup of tea!

Thank you for popping by my blog today. I hope you enjoyed my recipe for shortbread – I have always loved making it so I wanted to share it with you! What is a recipe you make very often and can’t live without?

See you next time for another tuneful recipe, but in the meantime,

Happy Baking!

English Singing Baker x


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