Step 1: Preheat the oven to 190°C fan-forced and line two baking trays with baking paper.
Step 2: Place the softened butter, caster sugar and rice flour into the bowl of an electric mixer (or use a handheld mixer) and mix on a high speed for approximately 8 - 10 minutes or until the ingredients are almost white. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.
Step 3: Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and gradually add the plain flour until a soft paste forms.
Step 4: Transfer the shortbread mixture to your bench which has been dusted with flour and gently bring the mixture together to form a smooth ball. Slice the ball in half and wrap one piece in cling wrap and place in the fridge until you need it.
Step 5: Using a rolling pin, roll the other ball until it is approximately 1 cm thick and use a star shaped cutter to make shapes.
Step 6: Carefully transfer the shortbread stars to the baking trays. Continue cutting out the shortbread stars (re-roll offcuts) until all of the mixture has been used. Take your second ball of dough from the fridge and return to Step 5.
Step 7: Once all of the dough has been cut into shapes, place your baking trays into the oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes or until the edges of the shortbread stars turn golden (see Notes below).
Step 8: Remove the trays from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Step 9: When the shortbread stars have cooled, break the white chocolate into pieces and place into a microwave safe bowl. Cook the white chocolate for 30 second spurts on high until it has just melted.
Step 10: Carefully dip the shortbread stars into the white chocolate and place onto a wire cooling rack to allow the chocolate to dry. While the chocolate is still wet, decorate with sprinkles or other decorations if desired.
Notes: Although you may have some eager helpers when it comes time to make these Shortbread Stars, I do recommend that you try to not handle the shortbread mixture too much. It can become soft and difficult to work with if it heats up. It's also a good idea to keep a close eye on these while they are in the oven. Just an extra minute or two too long can result in over cooking them, so don't let the kids distract you!
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Images: Lauren Matheson