• 175g plain flour
  • 100g cold salted butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g macadamia nuts
  • 24 squares of white chocolate

I recently visited my old school to give talks on working in advertising, starting a business and baking pastry. That classic educational trio. Back in the 90s my school had a rule about never being within 1 metre of the opposite sex, though we weren’t sure if it was an actual rule or if the 6th formers made it up. We didn’t care. That coupled with the gender segregation in assembly, an awful lot of prayers and hymns, plus a summer uniform involving white cotton ankle socks made for an awful lot of teenage lust. It was fabulous.

The school no longer segregates members of the opposite sex in quite such a centimetre by centimetre way, and whilst the results have improved since my day, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the students. Longing and clandestine trysts are a teenage right.

As I left this fine establishment I was handed a bag of goodies including a recipe book. What a gem this A4 bound beauty is. I found a shortbread recipe by a chap called Josh Melen. It’s a fine recipe that I have messed with a little. Feel free to un-mess it and return it to naked shortbread form.

Makes 24 small squares but depends on the size of your tray.

Ingredients:

- 175g plain flour

- 100g cold salted butter

- 50g caster sugar

- 50g macadamia nuts

- 24 squares of white chocolate

Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas 2. Grease a 24 x 24cm tin (or something smaller would work too, for thicker shortbread) with a little butter. Blitz the flour and butter in a food processor with the blade attachment until you have a breadcrumb type mixture. Add the sugar and blitz again. Tip the lot out into a large bowl. Then blitz the nuts until ground up into half centimetre chunks. Tip the nuts into the big bowl too. Use your hand to distribute them evenly amongst the breadcrumby mixture and then use your hand to bring the shortbread dough together. Basically the warmth of your hand will massage the dough a little into sticking together.

Once it looks like a blob of biscuit dough, pop it into the tin and use the back of a spoon to push it evenly into all the corners. If you use a 24 x 24 cm tin then you will have very thin dainty shortbread. Bake for about 20 – 30 minutes until the shortbread has browned a little, remove from the oven and score whilst still warm using a blunt knife. After 5 minutes cooling in the tin, take the white chocolate squares and place in the middle of each square/rectangle you have scored, but don’t push the chocolate down as it may melt a little too much. Leave to cool, then cut and serve.

I like to think these shortbread are lucky. Especially if you make 22 pieces and eat the rest before they’re cool.

Thanks to The Dixie Grammar School for allowing me to reproduce this recipe.

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