I've been inspired by seeing various spicy biscuit and cake offerings recently on my meanderings around peoples blogs and decided to make my own variation of something warming and spicy for the longer nights. Shortbread appealed, and after seeing the Caked Crusader's brown sugar shortbread that was decided. I also decided to add a little orange zest to the mixture, for extra delicious smells whilst baking and enjoyment whilst eating.
I adapted a basic shortbread recipe found in a little book I bought in Marks and Spencer recently. I think the recipes are Australian Womens Weekly ones, but since I changed it and there must be countless shortbread recipes I'll reproduce my version here. I made 33 tiny bites.
Orange spice shortbread bites
125g softened butter
30g light muscovado sugar
1/2 tsp mixed spice
grated zest 1/2 unwaxed orange
165g plain flour
about 2tsp demerara sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to Gas 3 1/2 ish so about 170C. Line a baking tray with silicon parchment.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the spice and orange zest (I zested directly into the bowl to catch all the fragrant oils too) and mix well.
- Sift over the flour in two batches and mix well to combine. You will have a lovely soft silky dough now.
- Pinch off little pieces of dough, about a tsp worth in size and roll into a ball in your hands. Place on the tray, spacing a little apart (I did mine in two batches) and then gently squash with the back of a fork.
- Sprinkle with demerara sugar and bake for 15-18 minutes.
- Remove to a wire baking rack and allow to cool.
I think these would be perfect with a good cup of earl grey or lady grey tea or would make ideal Christmas gifts, packaged up daintily in cellophane. The spice and orange flavours were fairly subtle but the biscuits were lovely and crumbly in texture, as you can see from the photograph above. These disappeared really quickly - one just isn't enough and it's all too easy to keep dipping your hand into the biscuit barrel for just one more little one.....