Butter is by far our favourite ingredient; indeed, we have the best butter in the world in Ireland. Irish butter is produced using milk from cows that are grass-fed on our fertile, green grasses, full of beta carotene goodness. The real butter made in Ireland is additive-free, naturally yellow and usually lightly salted for added flavour. Although butter is essentially milk fat, it absolutely qualifies as a ‘good fat’ full of much needed fat-soluble vitamins such as A, E and K2. Vitamin K2 is especially important as it is largely absent from our diets except in butter. K2 is essential for metabolising calcium. A great use for butter is in baking, where the good fats give amazing flavour, texture and quality. We always have a jar of vanilla shortbreads ready to go for when guests arrive – much to their delight.
Vanilla Shortbread Biscuits
- 170g plain white flour
- Vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
- 110g of butter diced and chilled
- 55g of caster sugar
- Preheat oven to 180°C
- Put flour in a chilled bowl.
- Slice open the vanilla pod lengthways and with the back of a knife, scrape the vanilla seeds out of the vanilla pod.
- Add the cold diced butter with the sugar to the flour and rub them together with your fingers until the mixture starts to come together. The desire is to create a very short crumbly dough with very little moisture.
- Pat the dough into a flat disc, cover in cling-film and chill for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface. the thickness should be quite thin, roughly around 3mm.
- Cut out shapes with pastry cutter of your choice, We like to keep things as simple as possible with a small round one.
- Arrange on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Leave around a centimetre between each biscuit.
- Gather up trimmings, roll out and cut your shapes out again.
- Bake in the preheated oven for around 10 – 15 minutes, keep a very watchful eye on the biscuits as depending on the thickness they will brown very quickly. The desired colour is very light golden.
- Immediately remove from baking tray and arrange on a cooling rack.