BUTTER BISCUITS

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This is my go to reliable recipe for the most buttery biscuits – sturdy enough to be wrapped up for gifts, filled with buttercream and sandwiched or simply stored in a tin for when friends drop in for afternoon tea. Known as Sablé or Danish biscuits, they are so simple to make and can be adapted with different spices, depending on your preference. In fact, the traditional recipe does not include spices or vanilla at all, but since it’s nearly Christmas, I wanted to add a festive touch and the spice of choice for me is nutmeg.

I’ve (barely) adapted this recipe from À la Mère de Famille – the most beautiful chocolate and sweets shop in Paris which has an equally glorious cookbook of the same name. This recipe can be easily doubled too, just split the dough into two when rolling, otherwise once rolled, it will be far too large to manage. I’ve used a stamp to cut out these biscuits, made especially for stamping and cutting Corzetti, a particular pasta shape. Although not intended for biscuits, I think the pattern looks lovely on them and you can easily find stamps specifically for biscuits. Traditionally, you would just use a round or fluted round cutter and make horizontal and vertical lines on the biscuits with a fork after brushing with milk, which is no less special.

Makes approximately 25

135g unsalted butter, softened

125g caster sugar

seeds of a vanilla bean or 1tsp of vanilla bean paste or extract

1 egg

250g plain flour

a generous grating of nutmeg

a pinch of salt

milk, for brushing

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well to incorporate. Sift in the flour, nutmeg and salt and gently mix until everything is well combined.

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll out to around 2mm in thickness. Allow to firm up in the fridge for 30 minutes - 1 hour.

Using a round or fluted cutter, cut out the biscuits and arrange them on a tray lined with baking paper. Brush the biscuits with milk and use a fork to create lines vertically and horizontally on the biscuits. If you’re using a stamp like I have, you will do the milk brushing after as the stamping cuts the biscuits at the same time. Bake the biscuits for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and store in an airtight container