Baking is the sort of thing that requires time, energy, concentration and precision, things one doesn’t always have in great supply; Yet, these deliciously crunchy Scottish shortbreads are not only as easy as pie, they’re also extremely quick to make; and whether you’ve forgotten your mother-in-law was supposed to come over for afternoon tea and you have nothing to offer her, or you wish to enjoy a typically English breakfast, these biscuits will never cease to delight!
Shortbread originated in Scotland in the XVIth century. It is usually formed in one of three shapes: One large circle, which is divided into segments as soon as it is taken out of the oven (these shortbread biscuits are called petty coat tails), individual round biscuits (called shortbread rounds), or a thick oblong slab (approximately 2cm) cut into fingers. Shortbread originated (and is generally associated with) from Scotland, but due to it’s popularity is also made in the remainder of the United-Kingdom.
Shortbread resulted in medieval biscuit bread making, and although it was made throughout the XIIth century, the refinement of shortbread is credited to Mary, Queen of Scots in the XVIth century. It was expensive and reserved as a luxury for special occasions, such as Christmas, Hogmanay (Scottish New Year’s Eve) and weddings.
Enjoy baking (and eating!) these wonderful Scottish delights and dream of Scottish kilts dancing the Highland fling to the unique sound of the bag pipes…
- 150g all purpose flour
- 100g butter, softened
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon of natural powdered vanilla (optional)
Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F).
In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, vanilla and sugar together. Once the butter is soft, add it to the dry mixture. The mixture will resemble crumbs to begin with and will become moist and more compact as you work it.
Roll the dough into a long sausage shape then cut little rounds. Place the cookies on a rack in the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until slightly golden, but be careful not to let the biscuits brown or burn. Sprinkle each biscuit with caster sugar once they’ve cooled off a little.
TIP: There are different ways of presenting shortbread biscuits, chose the shape you prefer best! If placed in a pretty Scottish tin, shortbread biscuits make the most wonderful gift, especially over the Christmas period and can stay fresh for 3 to 5 days.
Leave to cool before enjoying these crunchy delights along with a hot cup of Jasmine green tea…or a cup of strong Irish coffee.
I hope to see you here soon for more exciting recipes! Have a lovely week…
References: Scottish shortbread wikipedia