• Makes about 30 biscuits
  • Use gel or powder food colouring – otherwise the dough will be too wet


  • Two large baking trays, lined with parchment/baking paper
  • Three bowls
  • Rolling pin
  • Cooling rack
  • Cling film

Ingredients for the light shortbread

  • Ground almonds – 30g
  • Plain flour – 145g
  • Caster sugar, preferably unrefined – 65g
  • Unsalted butter, softened – 110g
  • Vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon

Ingredients for the dark shortbread

  • Ground almonds – 15g
  • Plain flour – 70g
  • Caster sugar, preferably unrefined – 30g
  • Unsalted butter, softened – 55g
  • Vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Brown food colouring

Ingredients for the reddish shortbread

  • Ground almonds – 15g
  • Plain flour – 70g
  • Caster sugar, preferably unrefined – 30g
  • Unsalted butter, softened – 55g
  • Vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract – 1/2 teaspoon
  •  Red and mid-brown food colouring


  • Icing sugar for dusting


  1. Line the baking tray
  2. In three separate bowls, weigh out and mix all the ingredients together except for the food colouring for each of the shortbread colours. (You should not need to add extra milk or water for binding, as the ground almonds help to make the dough soft enough)
  3. The larger amount/light shortbread is ready as it is
  4. To one of the other bowls add some brown food colouring, mixing it into the dough to get to a dark nut-brown colour
  5. To the third bowl, add the red and brown colouring if you have it, or mix a little red and some brown (little by little – start off with a small amount. You can always add more but you can’t take it away if it becomes too dark). Mix togetherIMG_0045
  6. Lightly dust your surface and rolling pin with a little icing sugar
  7. Roll out the reddish-coloured dough to a long roll/rope, about 1cm in diameter
  8. Cut the darker dough into two and roll each half  to a long rope 5mm in diameter  – this is because it would be too long to handle easily in one long rope
  9. Cut the reddish-coloured roll into four equal length pieces and the darker roll into eight – all twelve pieces need to be the same length (well, more or less)
  10. Press two of the dark ropes of dough along one of the reddish-coloured rolls. Offset  the two dark pieces. Press the dark dough onto the reddish dough – spreading it out:
  11. Repeat until you have four rolls – each having a reddish core with two dark bands
  12. Marry them up together. Tidy up one end by trimming the ropes straight
  13. Tidy up the other end, but cut off about 1/4 – you need this for later
  14. Mix together the left overs you’ve just cut off – to make a brown ball. Put to one side
  15. Now roll out the ‘normal’ shortbread dough to about 3mm thick
  16. Use the normal shortbread to wrap each of the four coloured ropes:
  17. Once you’ve wrapped all four ropes, press them together and start to roll them – you’re aiming to get another log shape.
  18. Use any remaining plain dough to pad out this shape (as it will naturally be quite square to start off with)
  19. Finally, roll out the ball of offcuts from earlier and wrap this around to make a dark casing:IMG_0049
  20. Wrap tightly in cling film and chill for 15 minutes
  21. Put your oven on to 170C fan / 180C conventional
  22. Remove the roll of dough from the fridge and slice into 4mm rounds
  23. Place on the lined baking trays and then pop in the oven in the middle for 12 – 13 minutes
  24. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes on the baking tray before moving to a wire rack until they are thoroughly cold


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