This is a very special Classic Shortbread recipe passed down through the generations, so easy to make and absolutely delicious.
I have been wanting to learn how to make shortbread for years, I always assumed it would be really tricky so just enjoyed others making it for us.
I have partnered with Westgold this month and wanted to share a recipe that felt like Christmas and showcased a classic buttery baked treat. So I went on the search for the elusive best shortbread recipe and I knew where to turn.
I have asked my Mum to share her favourite recipe and she has passed on a very special recipe indeed. My Mum’s Grandma was named Bessie Dora, she was born in 1882 and travelled to New Zealand from Taunton, England in the late 1800’s.
She was a housemaid so no doubt had access to the family recipes and went on to pass these along to her own family.
Bessie Dora settled in Rotorua where she married and then moved to a small dairy farm in Tirau, she went on to have 5 children, one of whom passed very young. She was a great cook and a much loved Grandma to my Mum.
I am delighted to share this recipe and have it stored here forever for families to continue to enjoy and love.
Onto the recipe and how you can make it. I have slightly amended and adapted the original recipe, it was given to me all in ounces and I have increased the butter slightly from the original to ensure a lovely buttery short finish.
These are truly delicious shortbread, so light and melt in the mouth.
The ingredients you will need are:
If you cannot access arrowroot simply use the same amount in cornflour.
To make these is really lovely and simple. These were originally made in a coal range so no time or baking temperature is on the original recipe so to say these have stood the test of time is an understatement!
Use softened room temperature butter, I have used a food mixer to make them as it makes it so easy, but you could easily use a wooden spoon and a strong arm.
Whip the butter until it is pale and creamy – around 4 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go.
I add the flour, icing sugar, arrowroot, cornflour and salt to a medium bowl and combine this fully. Then once the butter is ready I add the flour and carefully mix until the ingredients combine and begin to form soft clumps of dough.
Remove this onto a floured bench and gently knead the dough into a soft ball.
Using a floured rolling pin roll the dough to around 5-6mm thickness, I like my shortbread to be lovely and thick, this makes it soft and crumbly but you can make them thinner or smaller for a slightly crisper biscuits.
You can use any shape cookie cutter you have on hand. To be festive today I have used a star shape and a Christmas Tree, but a circular cookie cutter would be lovely or even fingers or squares.
You will need to carefully transfer the cut shapes to the baking trays, I use a metal spatula to do so, the dough is very soft. Then I reroll the leftover dough to roll out again and cut shapes until all of the dough is used up.
Shortbread does not need to be baked long, these took about 13 minutes. You want the edges to just appear to brown but the overall biscuit to remain pale then remove them from the oven. They will firm upon cooling.
The end result is a lovely light melt in the mouth shortbread biscuit. A truly special recipe from my family to yours. Please let me know if you make it.
I love sharing family recipes, you can find many of my Mum’s and Grandma’s here on my website so feel free to have a look around.
Onto the recipe for Bessie Dora’s Classic Shortbread
It is as easy as that! This will become an easy go-to, I hope that those who have never tried to make shortbread before give this recipe a go and enjoy it for generations to come. A huge thank you to Westgold for partnering with me, keep an eye out for their lovey products instore.
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My English father used to make shortbread and it didn’t have that grit from rice flour that is in a lot of recipes but this recipe sounds like it is melt in the mouth like his was.
Instead of icing sugar, can I use powdered sugar?
Icing sugar, confectioners sugar and powdered sugar at all the same thing.
Just made these and the house smells deliciously of Christmas. Super easy recipe and very adaptable. I didn’t have enough cornflour to double, no arrowroot either, so custard powder went in instead. Oh my! They are so tasty. I will be making more after a trip to pick up more cornflour.
Such an easy recipe to use, thank you so much for sharing. I doubled the cornflour instead of using arrowroot, cooked for 13 minutes (checked at 10 just in case my oven was running hot). They taste as good if not better than store bought ?? Kids had so much fun making Christmas cookies.
I am so pleased you enjoyed it!
Kay George says
I made the shortbread today I struggled with the gram could you put it back up in ounces as I still bake in ounces and pounds .Thanks from an old girl .
Grams are a universal unit of measurement so you can easily do a google search to convert them to your preferred unit of measurement.
Lisa Wilson says
What is arrowroot and what does it doin the recipe
Arrowroot is very similar to cornflour in that it is a starch thickener, and as I mention in my post it can be replaced with the equivalent amount of cornflour if needed. It is a starch like cornflour, made from the Arrowroot it is great for recipes cooked at a lower temperature. It is found in the baking aisle at your supermarket.