Christmas comes but once a year ...

...but we like to celebrate it for the whole month of December!

The first year Andrew and I were together we discovered a mutual love of all things Christmas...

From the ritual of buying the piney fresh Christmas tree at the start of December, to the giving of presents and celebrating with friends. But mostly the cooking and consuming of Christmas treats!

We spent our first Christmas together just the two of us here in Singapore. We each brought to the table (so to speak) our own long practiced family traditions. To that we added a bit of our own likes and personality and between the two of us we mashed together what would be the start of our own yearly traditions.

For Andrew and I, the day we decorate our tree marks the start of shortbread season! Throughout December we regularly bake Nanna's shortbread.

That first year we made batch after batch trying to perfect Nanna's infamous treat. By Christmas day we thought we had nailed it! We sat down in front of the tree with a plate of our best effort shortbread, some fruit mince pies (of course!) and our coffee's to unwrap the gifts our families had sent from home.

Andrew opened his gift from Nanna and low and behold it was a box of the real deal - Nanna's homemade shortbread! We dove right in and after the first bite looked at each other, our faces dropping. BOY did we have a long way to go before we even came close to perfecting the real deal!

Last year we spent Christmas in Australia and while there took the opportunity to have a lesson with Nanna herself on how to bake her shortbread. A special time both Andrew and I will always cherish. We learnt a lot that day!

So come the start of December this year we began the shortbread baking. Nanna's lesson stood us in good stead and I would say we have improved but still have a long way to go. We are very much looking forward to the real deal again in a few weeks time!

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy Christmas and a wonderful, surprise filled 2013!

Nanna's shortbread

Quantity is in ratio 2:4:6 (sugar:butter:flour), single serve

57g of caster or super fine sugar
113g of salted butter (cold)
142g of plain flour
28g of rice flour

Sift the flour (2 or 3 times) into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar. Add the butter and "rub" it into the flour using your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Press the dough together into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 150°C and line a flat baking tray with grease proof paper. Take the dough from the fridge and cut it in half.

Working with the first half push the dough down into a flat circle of approximately 0.75cm thick. Cut into equal triangles, pinch the edges of the circle with your fingers and prick the top of each piece with a fork.

Place the triangles onto the baking try and repeat with the exercise with the second half of the dough. You can shape the dough into rectangles (shortbread fingers) or use Christmas cookie cutters (stars, angels).

Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes. This largely depends (as we have discovered through much trial and error!) on your actual oven. The timing could be slightly longer or shorter so begin to monitor from around 25 minutes. The shortbread should feel firm and have darkened slightly in colour, although not browned.

Carefully turn onto a wire rack to cool.

Yield: 8 to 10 pieces per round, depending on how you large you cut each biscuit