We make all kinds of shortbread at Claridge’s: from caraway and lemon, chequerboard or almond to these simple vanilla ones.
MAKES ABOUT 30
200g unsalted butter, softened
½ vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped
½ tsp vanilla extract
70g icing sugar
250g strong white flour
caster sugar, for dusting
● Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, vanilla seeds and vanilla extract on medium for 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the icing sugar, then cream on low for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl once more, then add the flour. Mix on low until the flour is completely incorporated.
● Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Roll each piece into a log about 20cm long and 3cm-4cm in diameter, pushing the dough together if it is crumbly, then wrap in baking paper or clingfilm. Refrigerate until firm, about 40 minutes. (The dough can also be frozen at this stage for up to 2 months. Defrost the dough logs in the refrigerator before proceeding.)
● Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4 (if using a fan-assisted oven, follow manufacturer’s instructions). Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
● Cut each log into 1cm thick rounds. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 2cm apart.
● Bake for 20 minutes until pale golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and dust the biscuits with caster sugar (the heat will ensure the sugar sticks to the shortbread). Leave to cool on the sheet.
● Once cooled, shake off any excess sugar and pack away in an airtight container. These biscuits can be stored for up to 5 days.