Home Made Scottish Shortbread
Traditional shortbread mould
Scottish Shortbread Family Recipe
If I was asked for one recipe that reminds me of my childhood more than any other, it would be this one. Here I'm sharing a family recipe for Scottish Shortbread plus everything you need to make some great cookies.
This was one of my favourite treats at Christmas and the New Year. This is a recipe my grandmother used to make. Traditionally it is one part sugar to two parts butter to three parts flour and shaped in a wooden mould carved with a thistle. At one time it was only served at Christmas and New Year because butter was so expensive. Now of course it is a popular modern biscuit (cookie) with lots of variations on the basic recipe. Below you will find recipes for some modern versions.
For me though, home made shortbread will continue to be a treat. My father carved several wood shortbread moulds for my mother, sadly they didn't survive, but my memories do! I grew up in the 1950 when things were still difficult after the Second World War so shortbread, being rich in butter, was a treat we didn't get often. Despite the ready available supply these days, I still think of it as a treat and Christmas and New Year would not be the same without it. So, if you get a gift of shortbread from me at Christmas you know it means something special.
Image credit: shortbread mould
Traditionally Scottish shortbread is 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter and 3 parts flour. My grandmother always used a mix of flour and cornflour which gives the shortbread a lovely smooth texture while the rich butter mix makes it deliciously crumbly enough to melt in the mouth. Do not over-handle and make sure your hands and your bowl are cold when you work the dough.
Don't be tempted to replace the butter with a low fat or fat reduced version - it just doesn't work and won't taste the same. This is one of the few recipes when I never make a low-fat version.
If you don't have a mould, just press down onto a baking tray and cut into fingers or cut into rounds with a cutter. It should be at least half an inch deep for the best results.
Store in a tin - for some reason it always tastes better when stored in a tin rather than in plastic. Will keep for long periods.
- 2 oz caster sugar
- 4 oz butter
- 5 oz flour
- 1 oz cornflour
- pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 140Â°C (280Â°F or Gas mark 2).
- With a wooden spoon, in a large bowl cream sugar and butter until it is pale and creamy.
- Sift flour and cornflour and salt into the bowl and mix completely.
- Press into wooden mould - use the back of a wooden spoon to even it out
- Turn it out onto a greased baking tray or greased proof paper
- Bake in slow oven - 140Â°C (280Â°F or Gas mark 2). for 30 minutes or until golden brown
A mold is always a good idea if you are making shortbread although baking it flat is fine too.
A Biscuit Tin for your Shortbread
Any biscuit or cookie made with lots of butter keep better when kept in tin rather than plastic, time allows the flavors to blend and mature. This is a great biscuit tin to keep your Scottish shortbread in.
Shortbread as a gift
More and more people are turning to home-made alternatives to expensive gifts - maybe it is because I am getting older, but they mean much more to me than that boxed set of lavender bath salts.
Home made shortbread is ideal because it keeps so well, in fact it gets better kept for a week or so.
You can pack it in any container, a box like the one above is lovely but if you don't want to spend that much, wrap in muslin with a pretty bow or use an empty jar you have saved. Even a pretty napkin can serve. All you need to do is use your imagination. There are lots of place on-line that give you advice on gift wrapping including this one from Stephanie Lynn with 50 different ideas. I'm sure there is one to suit you in that lot.
How to wrap your shortbread as a gift
Shortbread started in medieval times and was known as "biscuit bread" - leftover dough was baked again in a low-heat oven until it was hard - hence the name 'biscuit' for 'twice baked'. If the yeast was replaced with butter, the result became shortbread. For many, including my family in the 1950s, shortbread was a luxury because butter was expensive. It used to be served only for Christmas and New Year, being a traditional gift to bring to someone's house when you visited during the holidays. Some say that the shortbread round symbolises the sun.
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Around the world
Walkers is a well known, well loved brand that send shortbread all around the world. A taste of Scotland available where ever you were.
© 2010 Ann