Christmas Shortbread

Only 4 more sleeps til Christmas! The lead up to Christmas can be stressful and crazy – especially when shopping centres are packed and it takes half an hour to even get into the carpark – but I think it makes me appreciate Christmas even more, since it’s usually quite a relaxing time for me.

The thing I love most about Christmas is the gathering of family and friends to share a meal and exchange gifts. This year, I’m hosting a Christmas Eve dinner at my place, which is sure to involve lots of mayhem in the kitchen! I’ve tried to be organised though by making some things in advance, like this Christmas shortbread.

This recipe is super easy to make, and are perfect as little treats to go with a tea or coffee after a meal, or wrapped up as take-home gifts for guests. I took a regular shortbread recipe and injected some festive cheer into it by turning half of the dough into cranberry and white chocolate shortbread, and the other half into green tea shortbread.

I love the contrasting colours of the two shortbreads together. They also have quite different flavours with the cranberry and white chocolate being sweeter with pops of tartness from the cranberry, and the green tea shortbread being ever so slightly bitter. Regardless, they are both delicious, and I think they will become part of my regular Christmas baking routine from now on!

I hope everyone has a fabulous Christmas! May you stuff your bellies full of tasty food and may Santa make all your Christmas wishes come true :)

Christmas Shortbread
adapted from this recipe from A Table for Two

Basic shortbread recipe (Makes about 60 cookies. See Christmas variations below)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Whisk flour and salt together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, cream butter and icing sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Add flour mixture mix until just combined.

2. Lay out a piece of cling wrap and place the dough onto the wrap. Shape into a log of about 4cm diameter, wrap in cling wrap and twist the ends to seal (kind of like a sausage). Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.

3. Preheat oven to 180ºC and line baking trays with baking paper. Take the dough out of the fridge and slice into 0.5cm discs. Place discs on baking trays and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until starting to turn golden on the edges. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Cranberry and white chocolate shortbread:
Add 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 1/2 cup white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate after mixing the flour mixture into the dough. Continue with recipe as normal.

Green tea shortbread:
Add 2 tbsp matcha (green tea) powder when whisking the flour and salt together. Continue with recipe as normal.

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