Buttery Shortbread Recipe – Mark Ahier

by | Jul 30, 2021 | Activities, Keepsake, Wellbeing

There are only four ingredients in this deliciously light buttery shortbread. I use a little bit of salt in this recipe which might seem a little bit unusual. You can’t taste the salt but it does bring out the rich buttery taste that really makes this recipe! It is worth using the best quality butter you can afford. 

I’ve experimented with different thicknesses when rolling out the dough before cutting. The thinner it is the less time it needs in the oven. You just need to keep an eye on them as for me they are perfect just as they start to turn golden. There are lots of shapes you can cut out or to keep it simple you can just use a knife to cut into rectangles. These are great for wrapping up and giving away as gifts or serving to friends and family. 


Baking Tray 

Mixing Bowl  



Measuring spoons or teaspoon Fork 

Rolling Pin 

Cookie Cutters or Knife  Cooling Rack 

Greaseproof Paper 



100g Soft Unsalted Butter

45g Caster Sugar (plus extra to sprinkle before baking)

150g Plain Flour  

1/4 tsp (teaspoon) Salt


Step 1 – Cut greaseproof paper to fit into the tray, alternatively if you don’t have any greaseproof paper you can rub a small amount of butter onto the baking trays. This will prevent the shortbread from sticking when cooked.

Step 2 – Measure out the butter and caster sugar into the mixing bowl. Using a fork blend the butter and sugar together until you can no longer see the sugar and it has formed a smooth paste. This is much easier when the butter is soft. I try to remember to get it out of the fridge well before I start baking.

Step 3 – Using the sieve add the flour into the mixing bowl then add the salt.

Step 4 – Using the fork start to blend the flour into the butter and sugar paste. Once it resembles breadcrumbs get your hand in and keep working it until it comes together as a ball and the mixing bowl is clean. If it feels a bit sticky then you can add some extra flour.

Step 5 – Put a little flour onto a work surface and gently roll out until the paste is 1/2cm thick (about the thickness of two £1 coins). Using the cookie cutters or a knife cut into the shapes you want and place them onto a baking tray. If the shapes are hard to lift then use extra flour.

Step 6 – Use a fork to lightly prick the top of each shortbread then sprinkle with a little caster sugar.

Step 7 – Place the trays in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes. While the shortbread is in the fridge set the oven to  190C/170C Fan/Gas 5.

Step 8 – Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. It’s worth checking to see how it is getting on so it comes out just as it starts to go golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave on the tray for a few minutes to start to cool. At this point, they should be firm and you can then lift them from the tray and place them on a wire cooling rack. If they feel a bit stuck then gently twist them to release.

Step 9 – Share and enjoy!

Mark Ahier runs the fantastic Baking for Wellbeing group at The Shoebox. The project includes sessions bringing people together to combat loneliness and isolation while learning a new skill, baking! The courses are for all abilities from complete novices to the more experienced to bake together in a fun, inclusive and relaxed environment.  Click here to view our Aviva Community Fund crowdfunder for the project. If you’d like to find out more or get involved, email team@theshoebox.org.uk or call 01603 850309.

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