This is a classic shortbread biscuit (cookie) that is quick to make, but which is very versatile. These can be served to accompany desserts like ice cream and stewed fruit, can be used as garnishes, accompaniments or ingredients in tiramisu and trifles or can simply be served with tea or coffee.
450g (2 cups) butter
225g (1 cup, generous) caster sugar
225g (1 1/2 cups, scant) ground rice
450g (4 cups) plain flour
1 tsp salt
demerara sugar, to garnish
golden caster sugar, for dusting
Cream together the butter and caster sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy.
In the meantime, sift together the flour, ground rice and salt into a bowl. Now stir the flour mix into the creamed butter mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
Working quickly, use your hands to gather the dough, then transfer onto a clean work surface. Knead lightly until the mixture comes together as a ball. Lightly roll the mixture into a sausage shape about 7.5cm (3 in) thick. Wrap in clingfilm (plastic wrap) and chill in the refrigerator until firm.
Pour the demerara sugar onto a sheet of baking parchment. When the dough is firm unwrap it and roll in the sugar until evenly coated. Using a long, sharp-bladed knife slice the roll into discs about 1cm (1/2 in) thick. Arrange these on baking trays lined with greaseproof (waxed) paper.
Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 190ºC (375ºF, Gas Mark 5) and bake for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly browned in colour.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle the shortbread rounds with caster sugar. Allow to cool on the baking tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.