Buttery Shortbread

By A Wee Bit of Cake - May 12, 2014

I should realise when I read a Mary Berry recipe that she knows what she is talking about and not ignore her instructions. For some daft reason I thought part of this recipe was wrong but, I was in fact wrong for not paying attention to the expert.

One evening a while back I took a notion for some shortbread. I don't often make biscuits but this was a good opportunity to brush up on my skills on that part of the baking world. I pulled my Mary Berry Baking Bible down from the shelf and found her shortbread recipe. It was so simple - plain flour, semolina, butter and sugar but as I read the recipe I couldn't figure out why there wasn't a liquid to bind the ingredients together. For some daft reason I thought cold butter was needed and when the recipe said to rub the butter into the dry ingredients I decided to be lazy and get the food processor out. Yes that worked but I was left with a load of crumbs and stood in the kitchen thinking "Mary Berry can't be wrong, why won't this combine?" I thought maybe the liquid had be accidentally left out so I slowly added some milk until it was all combined and baked in the oven as instructed.

Well that was a disaster, I didn't bake it for long enough and only realised when I took it out of the tin that it was half raw inside and just didn't taste right. I was baffled cos whenever I use a Mary Berry recipe it always works. I read over the recipe again and realised quite a lot of butter was needed and if it was soft maybe it would combine better.

Fast forward a few days and I'm in the kitchen determined to tackle this shortbread recipe. It has 4 ingredients, it cannot beat me!

This time I actually left the butter out to soften, followed the instructions properly (apart from it needing an extra 5 mins in my oven) and guess what - it worked perfectly.

Lesson learned - always listen to Mary Berry!

Mary Berry Shortbread
225g plain flour
100g semolina
225g butter
100g caster sugar
25g demerara/granulated sugar for dusting

  • Preheat the oven to 140C (fan)
  • Grease and line a 30 x 23cm cake tin
  • Mix the flour, sugar and semolina together and rub the butter into the mixture with your fingers until it binds together.
  • Knead lightly until it forms a smooth dough.
  • Press into the tin and flatten the top with a palette knife
  • Prick all over with a fork and place in the fridge until firm (about 30mins)
  • Bake in the oven for 35-40mins until a pale golden brown.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for a few mins then cut into fingers (or in my case, squares), place on a wire rack and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Once cool I dare you to eat only one!

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  1. I asked my father which shortbread he preferred, Mary Berry's or an old favourite I've made many times. He preferred Mary's