100 g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
200 g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
300 g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways
- Using a knife, scrape along the cut side of the vanilla pod to remove the seeds. Place the seeds in a large bowl with the sugar and mix well.
- Add the butter and mix with a wooden spoon until lightly creamed. Add the flour and a pinch of salt, then mix to a soft dough.
- Turn out, wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hour or overnight.
- Then roll out and use star cutters (or any other shape) before popping on a greased tray in the oven. You can store the shortbread dough in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 3 days.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out until about 5mm thick. Use an 8cm round fluted cutter to cut out the biscuits, re-rolling the trimmings to make 24. Transfer to 2 large, greased baking trays. Sprinkle with sugar, then chill for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/Gas Mark 3. Bake the shortbread for about 15 minutes, swapping the trays around halfway, until pale golden.
- Transfer the shortbread to a wire rack to cool and crisp up. Place in a large storage jar ready to take to the picnic.
Store the leftover vanilla pod in a jar of sugar to flavour the sugar - lovely. And it really is worth chilling the mixture - even if only for an hour. It makes it a lot easier to roll out and use with cutters.
Biscuit and sweets
Kids can help