ShortbreadTo my mind, of all the sweet treats my mother made when I was young, shortbread always seemed the most luxurious and perhaps surprisingly, the most “exotic”. Set against the kaleidoscope of Malaysian desserts that I grew up with, shortbread seemed the epitome of Western refinement – something the lords and ladies of Windsor would perhaps nibble on, whilst sipping on their Earl Grey at teatime. In a childhood saturated with deep-fried bananas and glutinous purple layer-cakes, there was something about the buttery simplicity of shortbread that echoed a colonial restraint that appealed to my early sense of identity. That my mother made very good shortbread, made me feel different; it, in part, made me feel just a wee bit more British.

The secret to my mother’s shortbread is, however, an altogether un-British Asian ingredient: rice flour. This elevates the shortbread to another level; giving it an amazing texture and makes for an even crisper biscuit bite.

For more Sweet Treats from The Muddled Pantry, please click here

Note: Try to use rice flour sourced from an Asian supplier rather than from a health shop as the former seems to be finer and gives a better finish.

Shortbread: Makes 20

120g plain flour
60g rice flour
60g castor sugar
120g butter, diced


  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius
  2. Sift both flours together
  3. Combine all the ingredients into a cake-mixer bowl
  4. Using a dough-hook, start the mixer on a slow setting until the butter begins to break up
  5. Increase the speed and continue until the mixture has bound together and forms a dough
  6. Roll the mixture out on a floured surface to a thickness of 10mm
  7. Using a small cookie-cutter, cut into shapes
  8. Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment
  9. Prick each biscuit 3 times with a fork
  10. Bake in the centre of the oven for between 40 to 50 minutes
  11. Towards the end of the baking time, check the bottom of the shortbread: if the bottoms have started to go light brown, they are done
  12. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with white sugar
  13. Cool completely on a wire cake rack before storing in an airtight container

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