My first ever cookbook was one of those thin little Ladybird books, which mainly featured ‘recipes’ for things like a hedgehog, made by skewering an orange with cocktail sticks and wedging grapes and cubes of cheese onto the cocktail sticks.
The only thing I can ever remember making from it and, therefore, the first recipe I ever followed, was shortbread. I must have been about six. My mum helped a lot and the shortbread was edible, if no more.
I haven’t made shortbread since but as I think I saw somewhere that it is medium-GI, I decided to give it a try last night. I checked recipes in four or five books but once again, Jamie Oliver’s was easiest to follow so I went with that.
The method is beyond easy – cream together 250g unsalted butter and 125g caster sugar. Sift in 250g plain flour and 125g cornflour and mix the lot together, finishing with your hands until you have a dough. Roll the dough to 1cm thick and fit it into a baking tray.
(Admission: I halved all the ingredients and used a 9 inch circular tin. No point in having a shortbread mountain when only one person in the house will eat it.)
Bake for 50 mins at 150c. Sprinkle with caster sugar when you take it out and leave to cool. This is where it went slightly wrong for me as I had no clean wire tray and couldn’t be bothered washing one. I am a bad housewife. Parked the shortbread on top of the cooker and it caved in all around the edges. Oops.
Still, it tasted alright and I had a sudden lightbulb moment when I realised that the silky mouthfeel you sometimes get from shortbread is obviously down to the cornflour. Ah-hah.
I prefer my shortbread crunchier and darker than than the round I produced last night so will mess about with the recipe in future. Salted butter might be a good start.