Extract taken from Indulge by Claire Clark (Absolute Press, £14.99). Photography © Jean Cazals
- 225g plain flour
- 75g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 50g granulated sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180C, gas 4. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the caster sugar.
Using a sharp knife, slit the vanilla pod open lengthways and scrape out the seeds with the tip of the knife. Add the seeds to the bowl, along with the butter.
Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients. As the mixture begins to come together, use your hand to help it form a dough (alternatively, you could use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment on a low speed to make the dough).
Shape the dough into a ball and flatten it slightly. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 1cm thick. Cut into 15 oblongs and place them on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.
Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the baking sheet around and continue baking for 10 minutes, until the shortbread is golden brown. Remove from the oven and dust with an even coating of granulated sugar. Leave on the baking sheet to cool.
Cutting the biscuits into oblongs or squares will give you a higher yield and prevent wastage and unnecessary trimmings. For a perfectly even finish, use a tea strainer to dust the biscuits with sugar when they come out of the oven.