Mums deserve something special on Mother's Day and sometimes it's nice to make it a home made gift. This assorted shortbread collection has 7 different flavours all based on the one easy "never-fail" shortbread recipe-make one or make them all! From chai alfajore shortbread that spells out "MUM"; lemon & macadamia shortbread bites; rose petal shortbread; "Yin Yang" black sesame and hojicha white choc dipped cookies; orange and cinnamon stars; double chocolate & ginger shortbread fingers or savoury cheese, garlic, chilli and herb shortbread, there's something to please every mum!
My favourite out of these were the chai alfajores but really it would be hard to pick a favourite. Rose shortbread is delicate and pretty while lemon and macadamia shortbread bites are rolled in crunchy raw sugar and then double dipped in chocolate. Then the Yin Yang hojicha and black sesame white chocolate dipped discs are dipped are both sweet and salty while orange and cinnamon stars are lovely in their simplicity. Double chocolate and ginger is for those that love their chocolate dark and their flavours sophisticated while the garlic, chilli, parmesan thyme squares are for mums that prefer their savouries over sweets.
Please allow me to plead my case with this shortbread assortment box. The base recipe is just four ingredients, most of which you'll have already (except maybe rice flour). The dough takes all of 5 minutes to mix up together. Thirdly the shortbread dough needs no resting or refrigeration and can be baked straight after you make the dough and lastly it's super versatile and you can really make 7 different types of shortbread easily. I mean I am crazy but honestly I am not that crazy.
I'm convinced sometimes my mother thinks that I am nuts though. Like when we were at dinner the other night for mother's day. This year we celebrated Mother's Day early as we are going to be overseas as it is around my birthday.
We were eating at a Japanese restaurant and dessert had just been served. I was about to pour a syrup over our dessert and then I stopped and exclaimed "OMG boomerang!" to Mr NQN meaning one of those boomerang videos where your phone takes bursts of photos and then stitches them together into a video loop like a GIF. My mother only knows of the other meaning of boomerang and instinctively she ducked her head in case I was screaming that there was a boomerang coming for us! Sometimes it's like we speak a different language, and sometimes we have to translate. And for times like this, we have food!
Anyway after I gave this cookie assortment box she messaged me thanking me for them and said, "The cookies you gave me for Mother's Day are so lovely that they melted in the mouth," which is a rare but nice compliment!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you speak a different language from your parents? If you heard "Boomerang!" what would you think of first? And which shortbread flavour do you like the sound of the best?
Mother's Day Shortbread Cookie Box
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Preparation time: 15-20 minutes for each flavour approximately
Cooking time: 15-25 minutes for each batch (depending on size of cookie)
420g/14ozs butter (room temperature, use the best butter you can find)
180g/6ozs. caster or superfine sugar
480g/17ozs. plain all purpose flour (plus extra for rolling)
120g/4ozs. rice flour
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 150C/300F and line 3-4 baking trays with parchment. Using a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. In a jug whisk the plain and rice flour together until well combined. Then on the lowest speed, add the flour to the butter mixture and mix until just combined.
Step 2 - Divide dough into seven portions if you are making all 7 flavours. Note: you will need to add more flour as needed.
"MUM" Chai alfajore shortbread:
Add 3/4 teaspoons chai or gingerbread spices. Cut into fluted circles and then cut out the word MUM using letter cutters. Transfer gently to a parchment lined tray and then carefully remove the excess portion of each letter inside (I used a toothpick). Bake for 20 minutes. Sandwich together with dulce de leche. Note: these are best kept in the fridge once the dulce de leche is added.
Lemon & macadamia shortbread bites:
Add finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon and 1/4 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts. Roll into a log and then roll this in raw sugar and then cut into little bite sized pieces. Bake for 20 minutes. When cool, dip each end in some melted dark chocolate (I used the chocolate from the ginger shortbread below).
Rose petal shortbread:
Add 1 teaspoon rosewater and then knead, adding more flour as needed. Roll out onto a floured parchment and cut into circles. Bake for 25 minutes and then cool completely.
Mix 3/4 cup icing sugar with 1/2 teaspoon rose water and 2 teaspoons or so of water until you get a spreadable icing. Ice the cookies and sprinkle with rose petals.
Yin Yang black sesame and hojicha cookies:
To one lot of dough add 1 teaspoon hojicha powder and knead to combine. Roll out onto floured parchment and sprinkle 4 tablespoons toasted black sesame seeds and 2 tablespoons raw sugar on top. Roll down onto the dough to press these into the dough. Cut into small circles and then bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely and then spoon over melted white chocolate in a yin yang pattern.
Orange and cinnamon stars:
Add finely grated zest of 1/2 orange and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon to dough. Roll out onto floured parchment and cut out small stars. Bake for 15 minutes. Mix 3/4 cup sifted icing sugar with enough orange juice to make a spreadable icing. Place it in a small piping bag or zip lock bag and snip a small hole and drizzle over the cookies. Or cut into hearts and sandwich together using the icing.
Double chocolate ginger shortbread fingers:
Add 1 tablespoon cocoa and 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallised ginger to one lot of dough. Roll out onto floured parchment and cut into rectangles. Bake for 20-25 minutes until done and then cool. Melt 100g of dark chocolate and spoon over the cookies as shown. Then add 1 tablespoon finely chopped pistachios.
Chilli garlic and herb shortbread:
Add 1 tablespoon finely grated parmesan, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon garlic powder to a lot of dough. Roll out onto floured parchment and cut into squares and prick with a fork. Add a tiny sprig of thyme in the centre. Bake for 20-25 minutes.