Make this delicious Elizabethan recipe for shortbread biscuits

Explore Playground to discover more recipes. And don’t forget, a grown up should help you to measure out the ingredients and use the oven!

COOKING TIME: 30 minutes


  • 225g / 8oz flour
  • 115g / 4oz cornflour
  • 225g / 8oz unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 115g / 4oz caster sugar
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp rose water (optional)


  • Sieve
  • 1 large bowl
  • Whisk (electric whisk optional)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Rolling pin
  • Fork
  • Round baking tray (or cake tin)
  • Cling film

To decorate

Traditionally decorated with a lace-like pattern or caraway seeds coated in sugar.

You could try hundreds & thousands or writing with icing.


In Elizabethan times people thought the pretty triangular pieces fixed in a round looked like the fabric used to make petticoats. That’s where they get their name!


Sift the flour and cornflour into your mixing bowl.

Add the cubes of butter. Using your fingertips, rub the flour and butter together until it looks a bit like breadcrumbs (you might need an adult to help you get all the big bits).

Stir in the sugar and caraway seeds.

Add the rose water bit by bit to help bring the mixture together – it’s easiest to use your hands to form the mixture into a ball. Add a little bit of water if you need to help it stick.

Wrap the dough in cling film and pop in the fringe for 30 minutes.

While it’s chilling, ask an adult to preheat your oven to 180c/gas 4.

Lightly grease your baking trays.

Remove your dough from the fridge and roll it out on a lightly-floured surface to a thickness of about 5mm.

For thicker shortbread roll to 1cm and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Tip: Make sure you move the dough around to stop it sticking.


Put it gently in the round tray and crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork.

Score it with 3 or 4 lines that cross in the centre. This will make 6 or 8 triangular biscuits. Then prick it in a pattern with a fork.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown.

Tip: Ovens are hot and dangerous! Get a grown up to help with this part.


Leave on the tray for 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack.

If you want to dust with caster sugar or hundreds & thousands, do this when hot from the oven.

When your shortbread has cooled you can decorate it or enjoy it as it is!

An illustration of a deer