Christmas Treats – Orange and Fennel Processor Shortbread
This Orange and Fennel Processor Shortbread is another very quick and delicious recipe to add to your Christmas repertoire.
There’s only 14 more sleeps to go until the big day and kitchens all around the world are humming. It’s a very busy time of the year and if any of you are still on the lookout for speedy, delicious treats for the family or to give as gifts then I think this Orange and Fennel Processor Shortbread is just the ticket – when it comes to quick and tasty recipes, this food blogger has it all covered.
Oranges are a traditional Christmas treat in the northern hemisphere and up until relatively recently were placed in the toe of Christmas stockings. The origins of the tradition are related to the story of St. Nicholas who was a bishop in Asia Minor in the fourth century. It is said that he secretly left gifts of gold for the poor in his region (which also explains the tradition of gold coins at Christmas), including a poor man who could not afford a dowry for his three daughters, putting them at risk of a life of sin. The story goes that St. Nicholas threw the gold coins for the dowry down the chimney and they landed in the toes of the girls stockings which were hung over the fireplace to dry. Over time, oranges have come to represent that gold.
I don’t recall oranges playing much of a role in my childhood Christmas celebrations, but I was probably more focused on chocolate and treats, rather than fresh fruit, on the big day. A shame really, as we grow spectacular oranges here in Australia and there are usually still some pretty fabulous ones available in December.
In this recipe I’ve paired them with fennel – one of my favourite spices and a flavour which goes especially well with orange. This recipe is an old favourite of mine because it uses a food processor and takes roughly no time at all to throw together and put in the oven. I pounded the fennel seeds a little before using them – just long enough to break them up a little to make the aniseed flavour more accessible. The orange flavour is quite subtle as I only used zest, but you could certainly dial it up a notch or two by adding finely chopped glace orange or candied orange peel. I’m pretty sure you could also pretty yours up much better than I’ve managed – especially if you want to give them as gifts.
Orange and Fennel Processor Shortbread
- 1 3/4 cups plain flour
- 1/4 cup ground rice
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1 tsp lightly crushed fennel seeds
- finely zested rind of 1 orange
- 250 gms cold butter cubed
- Preheat oven to 160C (320F).
- Grease and line with baking paper a 23cm square baking pan.
- Place flour, rice, sugar,fennel seeds and orange zest in a food processor and pulse 2-3 times to combine well.
- Add butter and process until dough just comes together.
- Press into prepared pan, score into squares, pierce each square with a fork, and place in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, until very lightly golden, but not browned. Cut into squares along the score lines while still hot.
- Cool in pan.