One of my favourite home-mde biscuits, with a lot of history attached, mainstay of Scottish biscuit tins for many years :) This is the best recipe you'll try, trust me. Not mine, but how my granny made hers, recipe just ahnded down over the years I suppose. Please - no rice flour, no cornflour, nothing fancy. I made some today for a friend, and I did put chocolate chips in them for him, but the basic shortbread recipe was used. Trick is not to have the oven too hot, and not to cut the pieces too thick or too thin, not to over work the dough or it will go oily, only ever use butter, absolutely nothing else. You can use plain or self-raising flour; I like self raising, as it makes a slightly puffier biscuit that cracks attractiely on the tops, giving a wee bit extra crunch.
8oz self-raising or plain flour
4o white caster or granulated sugar
Cut the butter intot he flour, then rub in, using light touch; after few minutes, the dough will start to feel sticky and claggy, add in the sugar, and bring it all together, kneading it ever so lightly with your hands.
Turn on to a floured board; several options now - roll it out carefully and use cutters; roll into susage shape , roll in extra sugar and slice; form into a neat circle, mark the edge with fork tines and maark into triangles and prick with fork for Petticoat Tails.
Bake in a medium oven until golden brown and firm, cool on a wire rack. Keeps well in an airtight tin if you can :)
Lots of variations are possible, although it is hard to improve upon the unadorned biscuits really. Try lemon or orange zest, chocolate chips/drops, cocoa, vanilla essence, finely chopped almonds, dreid fruit of choice. If you do go down this route, after making sure you'e used good ingredients for the biscuit itself, use vanilla essence, fresh zest, etc. Don;t spoil the shortbread ship...........
My chocolate chip of choice is Dove's Farm - organic and Fairtrade. OK , not the cheapest, but a few go a long way as they're good quality, makes a real difference.