As much as I like eating the spoils of my efforts in the kitchen, I baulk from complicated recipes. Many beautiful and delicious things require one to do this and that, and some days, I just can’t bring myself to commit to a complicated and long process, especially when the weather is chilly and grey. These biscuits provide the perfect companion to an hour or two spent in your sofa, all rugged up, with a cup of tea and a book.
In a world where things can get so complex, it’s great to find something that requires the tiniest amount of effort, and the simplest of ingredients and still be delicious and good-looking. One feels particularly keenly about simplicity on a cold Thursday where I still haven’t gotten out of my pyjamas, and these 3-ingredient shortbread biscuits fit the bill perfectly.
The bill – because I took this opportunity to try out my new duck shaped cookie cutter. I got it from House where it was $2.99, and I thought this was fine as it was an unusual shape. After a day of solid-ish effort with work, I decided that baking something would cheer me up, and I was certainly in no mood to mess around with intricacies such as separating eggs, or folding in meringue.
The result amounted to a batch (23 I believe) of beautifully, buttery golden-brown duckling shortbread. With only butter, sugar and plain flour it’s actually pleasantly surprising that from such little effort you can capture the taste of a chilly evening beside a fireplace in one mouthful.
I discovered this recipe at The Comfort of Cooking. Apt – whilst I used to shy away from things such as biscuits for fear of a huge effort and having to source hard-to-acquire ingredients, it’s so wonderful to have a recipe where everything is already stocked in the pantry. And biscuits can be stored away in a jar – we always love having a cookie jar at home to snack on with some tea or hot chocolate.
While the recipe says to keep them in the oven for 16-18 minutes, I had mine on two racks for about 25 minutes. Keep an eye on them really; based on your oven’s heat and whether you’re using multiple racks will affect the browning. Simply take them out as soon as the edges start to brown – they might feel soft but they harden as they cool.
- 1 cup of butter, softened. I stuck my cup in the microwave for 30 seconds.
- 2 cups of plain flour
- 2 cups of confectioner’s/icing sugar (you can use normal sugar as well, but it might change the texture a little)
- Preheat your oven to 180 C. Line your trays with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Gradually mix in the flour with the beaters.
- The mixture will be crumb-y at first but it will form a dough. Turn off your beater, and use your hands to squash it into a dough.
- Dust a rolling pin and board with flour or powdered sugar well. Roll out your dough, about a 1/4 inch or so thick.
- Use your cookie cutter of choice to cut out the shapes and place them, evenly spaced, on your baking tray. Repeat as many times as needed with leftover dough.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until cookies show signs of browning. If you’re using multiple racks, alternate them on top of each other so they have an equal amount of browning.