Look, I’ve reached my festive peak. I’m kicking myself for not stealing more quiet festive moments earlier on in the month because now we’re at the pointy end of stress with that fun of “oh fuck I have to buy a present for them because I know they got me one but they never like anything I get them anyway but I have to be seen to be spending a certain amount because then there will be comments and I can’t be seen as scabby and my god this isn’t what gift giving is about oh god I didn’t add butter to the online shop and I don’t know if I peaked too soon in having it arrive before Christmas Eve and not on Christmas eve and will the bread last that long oh god my toenails look like scum and I don’t have time oh no when will this end, when will this bloody end ooooo I’ll have another chocolate of course”. You know the true meaning of Christmas and all that fun stuff that really comes to the surface around this time.
These are great last minute Christmas baking gems to knock up or to steal a few moments alone in a kitchen with the inescapable Bublé festive tunes. I must admit, I do enjoy a bit of the old bubs this time of year. I’m all for stealing these quiet moments of mindless rolling and pressing, while singing out of tune to Blue Christmas.
You can of course bypass the the stamping here (if you don’t have one nor desire to have one) and simply press down rounded teaspoons with your hand or use the bottom of an upturned, flat glass. I wouldn’t suggest rolling out and cutting these with biscuit cutters as the dough is too soft and full of butter for those sorts of shenanigans. The orange zest really adds a nice twist on a classic and the vanilla beans make the butter even more buttery, if it possible. Quick note, these are not completely traditional and lean more towards a basic butter/sugar biscuit recipe but these nonetheless still feel Christmassy and taste delicious. I hope you have a glorious Christmas and a truly happy New Year. Try to keep the stress at bay and hold tight to the thought that it’ll all be over soon. Glade tidings I truly bring!
125 grams butter, softened
55 grams caster sugar
180 grams plain flour, sifted
zest of one medium sized orange
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two baking trays with baking paper. Cream together your butter, sugar, orange zest and vanilla until it becomes lighter in colour and fluffy.
Next, sift the flour into the creamed butter mixture and combine until a crumbly dough forms.
Once you get a dough like this, roll heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture into small balls onto your lined baking trays.
Taking a stamp, dip it in some extra flour to coat, and press down firmly on your dough balls.
As you can see, not all can be winners. Like I mentioned earlier, if you don’t feel like or don’t have a mould, simply press down with your hand or a flat bottomed glass.
Once you’ve pressed out all your shortbread, sprinkle with caster sugar on top to create a sparkling carapace.
Bake for 15 minutes or until they are lightly golden in colour.
Let them stand on their baking trays for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling and then proceed to move them into your mouth.
These are wonderful as little gifts to give to people or to give them to yourself for all your hard work wrapping presents and dealing with bullshit from families and friends. Ahhh happy times!
Again, I hope you have a really, really nice Christmas and may it be full of cozy, happy moments with those you love. I personally can’t wait to rewatch Gavin and Stacey and Call the Midwife Christmas specials over and over again, wrapped up in front of the aircon (to help me with the pretending that it’s not 39 outside with 99% humidity levels) with one or two of these biccies in hand.