Shortbread is ideal for making with children: it's quick and easy, uses ingredients you'll probably have in the kitchen, and it's egg-free, so no worries about the inevitable spoon-licking. You're meant to let the cut-out shapes sit in the fridge for half an hour before it goes in the oven, but we've experimented with it (our kids aren't patient enough for that) and they're perfectly fine if you stick them straight in to bake. Play around with the flavours - we divided the dough in half, keeping one plain and adding a handful or two of chocolate chips to the other. If we'd have had an orange, some grated zest would have been nice too.
- 175g butter, softened or at least room temperature
- 75g caster sugar (and a bit for sprinkling on top)
- 260g plain flour
- A couple of drops of vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 30g or so chocolate chips (or any other flavours you like)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 170c (fan) and line a couple of baking trays.
2. With a wooden spoon or in a mixer, beat (cream) the butter, vanilla and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt and mix again until it comes together to form a dough, then add the chocolate chips (or other flavourings) and mix lightly. It should now form a fairly stiff dough.
3. Flour a surface and roll out the dough to roughly 0.5cm thick, then cut into shapes of your choice. Place the shapes on the trays with some space between them. Chill in the fridge for half an hour if you can stand to wait; if not, don't bother.
4. Bake in the oven for around 12 minutes (maybe a minute or two longer, but keep a close eye). Don't let them darken as they will firm up once they're out. Sprinkle with a little sugar on top and let them cool on the trays for five minutes or so, then move to a rack.
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