I’ve spoken before of my tyrannical behaviour as a child. I am a control freak from way back and ever since I could reach the stove, I loved making my mum breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day. It was always bacon and eggs with toast (lots of butter – I know how she likes it) and I’d carefully carry it to my parent’s bedroom and insist that they eat it in bed with me watching unblinkingly underneath my severe fringe and Anna Wintour haircut. They’d try and make excuses or want to put the tray down on the dressing table but this would make me terribly upset. I think I just wanted to see my parents doing something fun and I have a sneaking suspicion that Carol and Mike Brady were served breakfast in bed by the Brady kids and this was how I wanted my childhood to be.
Each year I make Portuguese custard tarts for my Father’s birthday and Father’s Day but for Mother’s Day it’s something biscuity or buttery as my mother adores butter. Last year she received a Gateau Breton and this year I made a 1234 butter cake for her birthday cake so this year for Mother’s Day I decided to make her some shortbread buttons as she is a keen sewer and knitter and buttery biscuit fanatic.
These shortbread buttons are fairly easy – just make sure to use the best butter you can find. I was relieved to say that they were so much easier than last year’s cupcake bouquet which took a lot of time but was probably a more spectacular looking effort than these. However I loved the homespun look to these and I know my mother will love them.
So tell me dear reader, what exciting things do you have planned for your Mother on Mother’s Day? Or if you’re a mum, what’s the best Mother’s Day gift that you’ve received (or wanted to receive)?
An original recipe by Not Quite Nigella
- 200g unsalted best quality butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 1/3 cups plain flour
- 3/4 cup rice flour
- tiny pinch of salt
- 50g milk or dark chocolate
- silver cachous
- small sugar flowers
- cookie cutters in various shapes and sizes plus a skewer or a chopstick
1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Line two baking trays with parchment and get your cutters and a skewer or chopstick ready. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
2. In another bowl, mix both flours together with salt until combined and then fold into butter and sugar mixture. You may need to knead it slightly so that it comes together. Roll out the dough on lightly floured surface and roll it out so that it is about 4mms thick. Cut out shapes and gently lift them onto the parchment with an angled spatula or something similar. These do not spread much so you don’t need huge gaps between them. Poke “button holes” with chopstick or skewer and make patterns. Take a bottle lid which is slightly smaller than the cutter and gently press down to make an imprint.
Imprints using a bottle lid
3. Bake at 190c/375F for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 160c/315F for a further 10-15 minutes until pale golden (10 minutes for the smaller biscuits). As they are delicate, wait until they are completely cool before removing them from the tray.
4. Melt chocolate in microwave and using a small spoon spread chocolate in a circle in some of the biscuits. you can decorate these how you like so you can use whatever decorations you have to hand. I made “button holes” using silver cachous (nonpareils) and also used small sugar flowers. Leave to set. Store in airtight container.
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