I don't have a food processor. Could you let me know an alternative method for making the Vanilla Shortbread using a stand mixer or, if that is not possible, by hand? I tried to do it by hand today and it was too crumbly.
Nigella's Vanilla Shortbread (FROM NIGELLA SUMMER) is made in a food processor for ease, as the dough comes together in a ball fairly quickly. The dough will always be slightly crumbly and "short", hence the name, but you should be able to make a soft dough that can be patted into the base of a baking tin. It is possible also to make the shortbreads without a food processor, using a stand mixer or by hand. For all methods the butter should be very soft.
For a stand mixer use the paddle attachment and first mix the flour, icing sugar and cornflour (cornstarch) together, then add the butter and vanilla seeds. Mix on a low speed until the dough starts to come together in a ball around the paddle. If you are making the dough by hand then you may find it easiest to cream together the butter and sugar first, then sift over the flour and cornflour and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and can be patted into a ball. However it may take a bit of time and elbow grease to get to this stage, so be patient.