As Autumn begins to gently rear its head, for me it’s a feeling of happiness and new beginnings, rather than the gloomy sign of summers end. It’s impossible to resist thoughts of longer, cozier evenings; of that relieving, crisp chill which laces the air outside, all the while the gentle warmth of the lingering sun still on your face. It always feels to me that change is in the air moreso in Autumn than in the New Year, and yet as new ventures begin, it feels necessary to keep a simple touch of the familiar amongst the unknowns. The beauty of shortbread is the almost instant gratification. With such few and basic ingredients, such comforting indulgence is born, and can be dressed up or down with any combination of additional flavours and ingredients. The rosemary in these biscuits is just enough to give them a warm, woody spice, without being overpowering. If you particularly love the taste of rosemary and want it to shine through, add a little more – half a teaspoon or even a whole one extra, if you like it. Personally I don’t want the orange, rosemary or any other flavour I use for shortbread to overwhelm, because for me, at the end of the day the star player in a shortbread has always to be the butter. Let’s face it – when it tastes good, it’s almost always the butter.
240g salted butter
125g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
1.5 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
275g plain flour
Pre-heat oven to 180°c. Lay a piece of baking paper over large baking tray.
In the bowl of an electric mixer or with a handheld beater, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add the vanilla, orange zest, and rosemary. Mix just to combine and then gradually add the flour until well incorporated, forming a stiff dough.
Lay a large piece of cling film on the counter. Roughly press the dough together to amalgamate, then transfer this onto the cling film. Roll into a rough sausage shape, wrap, and continue to roll and shape the wrapped dough into a neat sausage roughly 4cm in diameter. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm up slightly. If you dont want to bake them the same day, you can leave this rolled dough in the freezer for another day, removing it 20 minutes before baking to allow to slightly soften.
Remove the dough from the cling film, and use a sharp knife to slice neat rounds roughly 1cm thick. Lay on the baking paper, leaving a couple of centimetres between each.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until ust beginning to brown on the edges.
Once removed from the oven, leave untouched on the tray for 10 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.