Friday, 18 March 2011

Baking Circle No.1: Aunty Jean's Shortbread

We had a good ole natter at the inaugural Auntie M's Baking Circle meet-up last week. The idea behind the evening is that you bring along your baked wares with a fist-full of recipes for it, we taste discuss and swap recipes and then take a little bit of everything home. I am calling this RESEARCH, not an excuse to eat cake, absolutely not. This for me is a serious study of the Art of Bake. 

The theme Michelle chose for our baked wares was 'bars' which I understood as 'tray-bakes' then further interpreted as shortbread, 'cause I bakes it in a tray see. The above photo shows the bakes that made it back to mine, having shared some of the others along the way. There was a Rosemary and Salt Caramel Millionaire's which Emily was into (she got the rest) and having had Stacey's Banana Nut Brownie for breakfast the following day (after the incredible discovery of rhubarb and custard on your porridge) I felt that 43 miles should be put between me and the rest. 

So, on the plate is Auntie M's Buttertart Bar which was deee-lish crisp biscuit base with sticky and ever-so-slightly chewy buttery topping, studded with raisins. The Butter Tart hails from Michelle's Canadian homeland and apparently there is quite a debate over there as to whether you walnut or raisin the filling. I may have to base a research project on this. Auntie M's young protege took along Crispy Treats, a no-bake blend of marshmallows, puffed rice and butter, the simplicity of which belied it's complex moreishness. 

Aunty Jean's recipe is very special recipe to me. Passed on from her, it's one my Mum made a lot. I think it might be unusual in that you melt, rather than cream the fat but it's the cornflour that keeps it wonderfully crisp and light. Oh and did I mention it's a doddle to make? Here's the recipe, scanned out of my notebook. At the bottom I've added the reminders Ma left - just in case. The shortbread trimmings by the way, are one of the very best bits, especially if they are a little over done. Save them for ice cream or maybe even a bowl of rhubarb and custard?!


  1. Hello Ellen,
    I met you in Waterstones when I was buying a book about blogging. Love the site. I'm going to try Auntie Jean's shortbread (with butter of course no yucky margarine here!) It's very different from my own throw-it-in-the-machine recipe. Do you have a spot for recipe swaps?

  2. Hi Janet,
    Thanks for dropping by! I'd really like to make one that could go in a shortbread mould which I don't think Aunty Jean's would work in. I'd love to do some kind of recipe swapping spot - what a great idea. Not quite sure what would be the best way to go about it... but I'm thinking on it. Hope you like the shortie!