Sunday, 17 October 2010

Brown sugar shortbread

Mr CC is currently going through a second childhood and enjoying a renewed interest in all things dinosaur.
When we saw these dinosaur biscuit cutters it took him about 30 seconds to decide they needed to be put to use making shortbread. Remembering the old Norwegian proverb that, biscuits are made with butter and love, I rolled up my sleeves and set to work! (NB. Regarding the dinosaur at the bottom of the next picture – I wasn’t sure what end his eye should go so I did half at one end, half at the other. Looking at the picture now, I’m pretty sure that’s the wrong end!)

Many shortbread recipes, particularly the more traditional ones, require you to push the dough into a mould rather than roll and cut.
I hunted for a recipe that could be rolled and came across this one for brown sugar shortbread with a hint of spice. This sounded a winner! I have made shortbread biscuits before (a long time ago – pre blog) and found them tricky to roll out – these were a doddle.

The biscuit has the lovely shortness that you associate with shortbread – that crumbly butteriness, but I also really liked the addition of brown sugar gave the biscuit a rich flavour.
The hint of spice is not at all over-powering and just adds some interest in the background.

I love it when baking fills my home with lovely aromas and these biscuits are right up there with the best!
The brown sugar filled my flat with what I can only describe as a Christmassy treacle waft – the sort of delicious smell that makes you feel happy!

Hard to say how many biscuits you will get as cutter sizes vary.
This basic mix is quite generous but I made 1.5x the quantities and the recipe scales up without any problems.

Now if I may digress – here’s a little something I’m working on for Christmas dessert...I’ll
post it on the site shortly (definitely in time for Christmas). It may have taken 10 months but I’ve finally mustered up courage to use the gorgeous copper jelly tin Mr CC got me for Christmas last year.


25og unsalted butter, at room temperature
140g soft brown sugar – I used half dark brown, half light brown
250g plain flour
90g rice flour
½ teaspoon mixed spice
small pinch of salt


Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add the flours, spice and salt and mix gently until just starting to form a soft dough – I brought the dough together with my hands.

The dough will require a little light kneading to bring it into a nice, smooth, short (i.e. buttery) dough.

Cut the dough into four and wrap individually in clingfilm – shape the dough into patties as it will make it easier to roll.

Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 160˚C/fan oven 140˚C/315˚F/Gas mark 2-3.

Lightly flour a sheet of clingfilm and roll one of the dough patties out between the clingfilm – you’re aiming for a thickness of approx ½ cm.

Use the cutter of your choice and place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Leave a gap between the biscuits as they will expand – but not much.

The leftover dough will re-roll and can be used. It is very good natured for a shortbread and I re-rolled my scraps numerous times with no loss of quality.

Repeat this process with the remaining 3 patties of dough.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until firm to the touch – use your judgement as it all depends on your oven and the thickness of your biscuits. One tray of mine took 25 minutes, whereas another was nearer 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool, on the trays, for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Biscuits are soft on coming out of the oven and if you try to lift them too soon they will crumble.

When completely cool store in an airtight container.

Decorate as you wish before serving but, to keep the biscuit crisp, leave the decorating as late as possible.

Bask in the glory at the wonderful thing you have created.



C said...

They look fabulous!!! I love the idea of brown sugar shortbread with spice too, definitely on the 'to make soon' list!

What did you use for the eyes? Was it just a mix of icing sugar and water? And how did you get the dark pupils? Last question - did you use ground rice or rice flour? Sorry about all the questions but really want to make these!

I think you're probably right about the bottom dinosaur - his eye looks like it should be the other side but you could just pretend it was during the course of evolution and that clearly, having eyes in your tail rather than your head would be a cause for becoming extinct! Love the cutters though!

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi C

I bought the eyes from America - they are ready made sheets of eyes - rather spooky!

If I was making them I think I'd use a ball of sugar paste and an edible food pen to dot the pupils.

I used Tesco brown rice flour.

Love the idea that I've caught the dinosaurs at a key point of evolution!

Happy baking

Baking Addict said...

These are so cute! They look really delicious and I can just imagine the smells :) I love the smell of freshly baked cookies or brownies in my kitchen.

C said...

Thanks for the reply. A sheet of eyes does indeed sound very spooky!

I think I might just use ground rice as that's what I've got in at the moment.

Meant to say that your Christmas dessert looks absolutely delicious - looking forward to seeing the recipe for that one!

Please Do Not Feed The Animals. said...

I love these dinosaur biscuits. I'm a HUGE shortbread fan but always think of them as a rather adult treat and only ever have them as fingers or triangles. I'm glad you have made me see the light - your dinosaurs look such fun! I'd love to try the brown sugar shortbread too - sounds just up my street. Thanks.

Choclette said...

These look wonderful, I suspect Mr CC isn't the only one who would appreciate these - I'd better keep CT away from this blog or he might get ideas.

I've only recently started using white sugar in baking as feel now I'm older I'm allowed to be a bit more decedent!

coco cooks said...

Aren't men the biggest babies. But we love to indulge them. Love them and the spice!
The Christmas mold looks fab.

josiejo said...

Hi there!

Where did you get your dinosaur cutters? They're absolutely adorable, and I think my nephew would love them!


The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Josie

They're from the Natural History Museum but available from many cookware shops - rather a bargain at £2.50. I bought mine in Divertimenti.
Here's a link so you know what to look for

Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours said...

Lovely dino biscuits!

I made (and am about to make another) dino scarf recently.

Cakelaw said...

What adorable biscuits! Also love the look of that jelly - it is glorious!

josiejo said...

Wow, quick reply! That's super... they are irresistible. I am absolutely buying them for a child and not buying them for myself, honest ;)

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Heh heh heh - those are brilliant! Good shortbread is unbeatable, but dinosaur shortbread - possibly even better!

Lucy said...

Ahh your shortbread dinosaurs made me smile :) I bet they taste pretty addictive too!

Hazel said...

I love the simplicity of these! Adorable :)

Scarlett said...

wow-super cute bicuits-they made me smile!!

Margaret said...

Love the dinosaur biscuits, really cute.
Your jelly dessert looks pretty tempting too!

Sam said...

I love the dinosaur cutters, they're brilliant! I love the sound of the shortbread too, I'm going to make some of these soon.

Katie said...

They are sooooo cute!! The little eyes are perfect, they really give them character. Sounds like a great recipe too

Fakharuddin40 said...

Gorgeous and Adorable. Thanks for sharing these nice cookies. i love eating cookies. The eyes are made of what?

Gifts to Pakistan

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Fakharuddin

The eyes are sugar paste

Happy baking

Baking Babe said...

We made these with gluten free flour and they turned out perfect! I just substituted all the flours (plain and rice) for the same quantity of Dove's Farm gluten free flour. We made Halloween cookies with some cutters my daughter bought. They tasted even better on the second day! Thanks for your wonderful recipes!

jhon paul said...

hello . i found it great and the ingredients used are great for children's it is great for others as well to take guide for the same recipe . great work . thump up . thanks

gift to Pakistan

Anonymous said...

Hello CakedCrusader, I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful recipe. I have been searching and searching for a great cut-out biscuit recipe and your is the perfect one. I added a small pinch of cinnamon instead of the spice to give a little background warmth. The biscuits were beautifully crisp and crumbly but, most importantly, so delicious to eat. Thank you again.