Traybake Shortbread and Variations

I love Shortbread as it is but I also love it with different flavourings added such as earl grey, lavender, chocolate or fennel.  These flavourings can act as shortbread’s fairy godmother and dress it up so everyone can see how beautiful it really is.  Just add them in the final mixing.

Rich and buttery shortbread that crumbles into your mouth is brilliant with a cup of tea or coffee. My grandfather used to love it as an accompaniment to a wee dram of whisky whilst as children we had it with a glass of milk.  The basic recipe is a wonderful thing.  Sadly in today’s times it’s often overlooked in favour of more exciting looking biscuits but maybe these variations will make you think again

Traybaked Shortbread








You don’t have to shape the Shortbread in a tray there are many moulds and stamps especially for Shortbread that you turn out and bake – or you can press it into the ring of a loose based sandwich tin and flute the edges if you prefer  if you are using a mould or cake ring I would suggest making a half quantity of the recipe below

Here are a few ideas to start you off:-

a) add the finely grated zest of a large lemon if you want to serve it with icecream

b) a couple of tablespoons of crushed pink peppercorns (yes really – I promise it really works) make a wonderful addition particularly if serving Shortbread with stewed plums

c) try a teaspoon of dried lavender if serving with strawberries or rhubarb,  or chopped rosemary if serving with peaches or apricots

d) a couple of teaspoons of fennel added to the mix make a great petit four when served with coffee   The Italians swear fennel helps you digest your food plus it’s very tasty

e) you can always knead into the dough things like chocolate ships, chopped nuts etc if you want to vary the basic biscuit.  My favourite is chopped walnuts.

f) try adding the contents of an earl grey teabag when you blend the butter and plain flour together for a real surprise   This goes really well with hot chocolate


Shortbread pressed into a mould and turned out onto baking sheet before baking


Ingredients (makes 24 pieces)

  • 350g plain flour
  • 350g butter, room temperature, diced
  • 175g rice flour
  • 175g caster sugar (plus extra for sprinkling at end)


  1. Heat oven to 175c/350F
  2. Line a Swiss roll tin with baking parchment
  3. Put plain flour and butter  into a food processor and blitz till it looks like breadcrumbs
  4. Add rice flour and sugar, together with any additional flavouring you may want to use (see notes above) and pulse until a dough starts to form.
  5. Press mixture firmly into the lined Swiss roll tin
  6. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes
  7. Bake for 30-35 mins until the Shortbread is golden brown
  8. Remove tray from oven and put on cooling rack. Sprinkle over extra sugar and cut into pieces whilst still warm.  At this stage I like to prick over the Shortbread with a fork for decoration
  9. Leave Shortbread in tin until completely cold before turning out.
  10. Guard the biscuit tin you store Shortbread in as pieces have a habit of disappearing rapidly.

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