I don’t know about you but I am always a little bit rushed on Christmas day.
There is the fun rush. Getting breakfast into children so that they can go and play with their cousins, getting everything shipshape because someone is coming for drinks, hurrying from one party to another, etc.
Then there is the slightly more stressed kind of rush. Remembering that the main present for one cousin has to be got from a depot 5 miles away, going to the inevitable bunfight at the shops to get enough milk to last, washing up before the next round of dirty things and then washing up again.
So I decided this year to prepare one of the desserts early. So I did a whole month early. And the preparation was a pretty useful “it is raining, the children are bored and I can’t just chuck them into the garden” kind of job. So useful in two ways.
That is the beauty of this spiced orange shortbread recipe. You make the dough (kiddoes love helping with all the Christmas baking), eat about a quarter of the dough whilst you roll it and cut out the biscuits and then you freeze them. Job done.
So Christmas day, tea time. You need something (but not too much, still full from lunch and supper to look forward to). Do a cookie run – all the way to the kitchen. Chuck some of these in the oven. 12 mins later out come some lovely, warm, shortbread, smelling of oranges and mixed spice. Perfect (unless of course the dog jumps up and knocks over the baking tray as happened last year).
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Spiced Orange Shortbread
- Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and cream together using an electric hand mixer till the mixture is light and fluffy. Mix in the orange zest and juice. Then sift in the flours, salt and mixed spice and mix until you get a soft dough. If the dough is a little bit sticky then add in a tbsp or two of flour.
- Split the dough into two and shape each one into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1hr minimum.
- Preheat oven to fan assisted 150C / 170C / 325F / gas 3.
- Take the first bit of dough from the fridge, roll it out on a lightly floured surface till it is about 6mm thick and then cut into your desired shapes (I use a 6cm diameter cutter) and lay on a lined baking sheet. Quickly scoop up the excess of dough re shape roll out and cut again. Repeat with the second disc of dough. You can freeze some of the cut shortbread at this stage.
- Bake the shortbread for between 10-12 mins until they are lightly golden.
- Let the shortbread cool on the tray for about 10 mins before transferring it to a cooling rack to cool completely. Keep in an airtight container for a few days.