Wow. What a crazy busy few weeks it has been! I cannot believe I haven’t baked anything Christmassy until now, I had so much planned to do in the last couple of weeks, but I always seem to be way too ambitious when Christmas baking is concerned. So, here we are – shortbread on the 13th of December! They are certianly no culinary masterpieces, but it is great shortbread though, even if I say so myself. And they are quite cute. And this is exactly what would happen if we could make snowmen at Christmas in Australia.
Homemade shortbread has always been one of my favourites around Christmas time, and this is actually the first time I have properly made it myself (you can probably tell – they are far from consistent!). I used a Taste.com recipe, surprise, surprise, and it was awesome – really buttery and melted in your mouth. One of the things I love about shortbread is that it is sooo easy to make. It has 5 ingredients that would usually be in your pantry anyway. The dough is pretty tasty, too. Tasty enough that we probably lost a snowman or two due to my severe lack of self-control when it comes to dough.
Shortbread: (recipe adapted from Taste.com) Makes 18 large snowmen.
- 250g butter, chopped and softened
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1/2 cup cornflour
Preheat oven to 160c. Line 3 oven trays with baking paper. Beat butter, icing sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add the flours and stir to combine. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth. If you find the dough too sticky, just add a bit more flour when kneading. Wrap the dough tightly in cling wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Cut dough in half, and roll out with a rolling pin between two sheets of baking paper, until the dough is about 1-1/2cm thick. With a ring mould, or a round cookie cutter, cut circles out from the dough and place them on the baking trays. Cook for 20-25 minutes. The shortbread should not be too ‘blonde’ as they would say on Masterchef! I tried to take mine out just as they were beginning to go a tiny bit golden. Let cool on trays for 15-20 minutes.
Turning the shortbread into Melted Snowmen:
- 18 white marshmallows
- Silver cachous
- Orange sprinkles
- Icing sugar
- Lemon juice
- Vanilla bean paste
- Edible black pen (these are fantastic, I bought mine from Baking Pleasures)
To be honest, I didn’t measure out the ingredients in the icing. I used a small-medium bowl, and started off with approx. 1/2 cup icing sugar, and probably 2 tsp of water. Mix the sugar and water together, then add the vanilla and lemon juice. It needs to be fairly thick, but still spreadable enough to move around on the shortbread. It should be this consistency. and should be well balanced with vanilla and lemon 🙂 This icing dries really quickly, so keep giving a stir every now and then.
Draw faces on the marshmallows, I made them sad and confused, as they had just endured a serious heatwave!
Place a wire rack on top of some paper towel. Pour a teaspoon of icing onto the shortbread, and spread out to make it look as though the icing is dripping off the sides. Place a marshmallow on the shortbread, and 2 or 3 silver cachous in front if the marshmallow. Push an orange sprinkle into the marshmallow for the nose. Yum!
These cute, sad little snowmen are great for the kids to make. They are really easy and fun to decorate 🙂 Plus, the shortbread tastes really good, too. Enjoy, and stay tuned for some more Christmas baking goodness 🙂 X