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25 Days of Shanghai Christmas: Dec 18 A Christmas Shortbread Recipe

These are mooncake molds, for using during mid-autumn festival, but I’ve been thinking for a while now they would make great shortbread molds, giving me some extra mileage out of them at Christmas. These hand-carved molds were bought at Dongtai Lu in Shanghai, but can be picked up cheaply at any antiques market in China for about 40 yuan each (about $7), and after a good wash in soapy water, and an oiling with vegetable oil, they’re good to go. The patterns are beautiful, like the lotus pod with a tiny lucky butterfly, a patterned leaf, and stylised double happiness symbols. This week I had the chance to try them out on my favourite shortbread recipe, but you can also use traditional shortbread molds, butter molds, or simply shape the shortbread freeform. Because this recipe is so easy to make and keeps well,  it’s a great fast and easy gift.

Scottish Shortbread
  • 180g good quality butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 180g plain flour
  • 75g rice flour or ground rice (plain flour can be substituted, the ground rice gives the shortbread a traditional gritty texture)

  • Preheat oven to 150C
  • Cream butter and sugar together until light in colour
  • Add flour and ground rice and mix well into a dough
  • Refrigerate dough for 30 mins
  • Using your hands, form dough into a flat patty a little bigger than the size of the mold
  • Press dough down firmly into the mould, them peel away and place on baking sheet
  • Trim edges with a knife
  • Bake for 20-25 mins or until golden (larger shortbreads will take longer than small ones)
  • Sprinkle lightly with extra caster sugar while still warm