My room-mate Justine comes from Edinburgh, hence her mastery of these glittering shortbread stars. At Christmas she makes the stars round, brushing them after baking with a thin icing of confectioners’ sugar and water flavored with cinnamon.

Makes about 12 stars
1 cup/250 g unsalted butter
1/2 cup/125 g sugar
3 cups/390 g flour
Silver sprinkles (optional)
3-in/7-cm cookie cutter

1. Heat the oven to 350°F/175°C and butter a baking sheet.

2. For the dough: cream the butter, add the sugar and beat until light and creamy, 5-7 minutes. Sift over the flour and stir just until mixed and smooth, the dough will be quite soft. Roll it out on a floured board to 3/8-inch/1-cm thickness. Stamp out stars or rounds with the cookie cutter and set them on the baking sheet. If you like, scatter the stars with sprinkles, then chill in the refrigerator 10-15 minutes until firm.

3. Bake the stars in the heated oven until pale golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Let them cool 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a baking sheet to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.