I acquired the habit of munching on Scottish shortbread fingers when I was studying in Durham more than two years ago. Back then, I could buy up to two packs a week – a behaviour that is not unlike that of a smoker and his pack of cigarettes. It did not help that shortbread cookies were sold at such affordable prices in the UK – at least two to three times cheaper than those found in Singapore.
The original flavour of shortbread is still my favourite, though I hate to admit the flavoured ones – lemon, cheese, almond etc – are just as scrumptious. Since I have some chopped almonds left in my fridge, I thought I might as well add these into the shortbread. And… well, since I’m already at it, why not infuse a tad of lemon flavour too?
So, there you have it – my lemony almond shortbread.
- Unsalted butter: 150g, softened
- Icing sugar: 55g + extra, sifted
- Lemon juice: of 1 lemon
- Lemon zest: of 2 lemons
- Lemon extract: 1 tsp
- Salt: a pinch
- Plain flour: 225g, sifted
- Corn starch: 2 tbsp, sifted
- Chopped almond: 1 cup (50g)
- Cream butter and icing sugar together with electric mixer till pale and creamy.
- Add lemon juice, zest, extract and salt. Beat till combined.
- Slowly add in flour and corn starch till a soft dough forms.
- Gently fold in almonds. Turn dough onto baking paper.
- Shape dough into rectangular block. Wrap it up and refrigerate for at least 1 hr till firm.
- Preheat oven at 180 degrees.
- Remove dough from fridge and unwrap baking paper.
- Using a knife, slice into desired shapes and sizes at about 3mm thickness.
- Place 1-cm apart on baking tray. Bake 15 min till light golden brown.
- Remove from oven and cool for 5 min.
- Sift icing sugar onto shortbread fingers to serve.
- Experiment with the ingredients of the shortbread recipe. You could replace the almonds and lemon flavour with chopped fruits (e.g. cranberries), vanilla extract or other herbs for a variety of flavoured shortbread.
- The sifting of icing sugar onto the baked cookies help to neutralise the sourness from the lemon. If using sweet ingredients instead of lemon, this step would be optional.
- Given that this was the my first attempt at baking shortbread, I must admit I did a real bad job at shaping the dough and slicing the cookies, hence their deformed shapes and edges. The next time I bake this, I’ll roll them out into 1-cm thick pieces first and then cut them out using cookie cutters.
Makes 20 ‘rectangular’ shortbread fingers