Cream the butter and sugar, and then work in the dry ingredients. Knead lightly and briefly into a ball of smooth soft paste. Roll into a circle, shape in a shortbread mould, or press into a square or round sponge tin, first buttered and floured. Crimp the edges with a fork, prick all over and mark into rectangles, squares or traditional wedges.
Bake in a preheated oven at 150½C/300½F/gas mark 2 for about 45 minutes until pale gold in colour. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool slightly in the tin. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, and, while still hot, dredge with caster sugar.
This is particularly good made with concentrated butter, available in many supermarkets. You can use caster sugar in which a vanilla pod has been stored.
© 2000 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.