Cinnamon & Raisin Shortbread

Week 5 of the Great British Bake Off and it’s biscuits & traybakes week.

I am a seriously bad baker, you could break your teeth on my wafer thin Victoria sponge. But this week I’ve been inspired to make biscuits. Biscuits I can do. They don’t need to be light and fluffy, or indeed need to rise. The one thing I can bake which usually gets stacks of compliments is shortbread. I bake plain or lavender shortbread but I’ve decided to mix things up and try a cinnamon and raisin version.

I inherited the basic shortbread recipe from my Grandma who was a cook and a pastry chef. She used to make fantastic puddings. I’ve taken her shortbread recipe and added a few other ingredients. I’m really pleased with the results, I hope you like them too.

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Cinnamon and Raisin Shortbread
Makes 20 fingers
225g butter
130g caster sugar
350g plain flour
3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
50g raisins
Caster sugar for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 180. Line a shortbread tin (I use a Swiss roll tin, it’s about the right size) with grease proof paper.

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Rub the butter and sugar together with your hands and then lightly rub in the flour and the cinnamon (I do this in stages to avoid a flour cloud in the kitchen). Add the raisins and mix through the dough.

Tip into lined tin and press down evenly with the back of a spoon, then stab randomly or artistically with a fork and bung it in the pre-heated oven.

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Shortbread can be a tricky beast, I baked this batch for 35 minutes, but from about 20 minutes you want to be keeping an eye on it. Different ovens cook differently and I’ve found different butters behave differently too. So it’s best to keep having a peek. You want it to still be pale but cooked through. You don’t want to dry it out either.

Once it’s cooked, whip it out of the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes, then with a knife while it’s still in the tin, cut it into fingers and sprinkle with some caster sugar. Lift the shortbread out of the tin, still in its grease proof and leave on the rack to cool.

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Try if you can (I failed) not to gobble one down while they’re still hotter than the surface of the sun. Once cool, enjoy with a streaming mug of tea. Or gin. Either works for me. They can happily be stored in an airtight tin for a few days, if they last that long.

The shortbreads were a massive hit, they were loved by all. I was cautious with the cinnamon as not everyone likes it. I think next time I’d put maybe 5 teaspoons of cinnamon in instead of 3. If you’re not sure how much you want to add you can always taste the raw dough and add more if you think it needs it.

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