Since the countdown to Christmas is now in full swing, I thought that a recipe for shortbread is now in order. This is one of my go-to things to bake when I am invited at someone’s home. Reasons being: I definitely don’t need to spend a fortune for gifts, I can make it easily up to two days before the event (it will keep wonderfully well if stored properly), it can be easily transported anywhere without becoming a mess when travelling, and the recipe can be varied according to any flavour you want. I have once tried it with lavender and lemon zest. It was the nicest thing I have ever had. It’s a win-win situation all round.
It’s Mothering Sunday this month in the UK. I get so confused: in Malta it’s in May. The first year we moved here I sent my cards really early and our mums were so surprised. I have a reputation of sending greeting cards a month before someone’s birthday, but this broke all records! Lately people have been messaging me saying that I have not been writing about sweet things for the past few posts. That’s very true, reason being that I have not been baking much this past month or so. I will rectify this now, although the following recipe goes back quite a while.
These are difficult times for almost everyone, so instead of spending all your precious pennies I’m sure that a little bit of baking would go a long way instead. How about some cute fairy cakes with pink icing and loads of sprinkles for the special lady, maybe wrapped up in a pink box? Or perhaps the following chocolate lovelies…They are so simple to make. One thing to pay attention to has to do with convection oven. These tend to be too powerful for baking small cakes, so preheat the oven 10 to 20 degrees C lower. If you have a fan oven then preheat it to 160ºC here. This recipe is for 12 muffins and takes about 35 minutes or so. Happy Baking!
- 150g unsalted butter, softened
- 150g golden caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 175g self-raising flour
- 25g good quality cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (for convection ovens see my note above). Line or grease a muffin tin for 12 cakes.
- In a large bowl mix in the butter, golden caster sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Place a sieve over the same bowl and in it tip the flour and cocoa powder. Sift the two ingredients into the liquids.
- Using a whisk beat everything together well but not too much. Some lumps in the mixture is fine. It will turn out better!
- Divide the mixture in the tins and bake for 15 minutes, or till a knife comes out clean. Keep an eye on them as they can burn easily!
- Take them out of the tins after 5 minutes on a wire rack and let them cool.
If you want to make some buttercream to make them tastier, try mixing 150g unsalted butter, 300g icing sugar and 2 tablespoons milk in a bowl. Make sure you spread this on the muffins after they are completely cool, otherwise the buttercream will simply melt. Not nice. Happy Mothering Sunday to all you lovely mums!