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All-butter Scottish shortbread recipe

All-butter Scottish shortbread recipe


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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Biscuits and cookies
  • Shortbread

This luxurious all-butter shortbread is simple but classic.

567 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 175g (6 oz) plain flour
  • 5 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 175g (6 oz) butter

MethodPrep:10min ›Ready in:10min

  1. Preheat oven to 150 C / Gas mark 2.
  2. Blend all ingredients well. Dough will be stiff.
  3. Press into a 23cm (9 in) buttered baking dish. Prick top with a fork.
  4. Bake until a pale golden brown on the edges, approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(327)

Reviews in English (265)

My Gran taught me a similar recipe, which is easy to remember.2oz Caster Sugar4oz unsalted butter6oz Plain FlourThis is easily doubled up to make 1 whole baking tray full then cut into fingers while still warm...always prick with a fork before baking whether making rounds or fingers. Sprinkle with Castor Sugar when cool.-22 Nov 2011

Altered ingredient amounts.Used smaller dish for thick slices and left in oven for 1 hour. Perfection-28 May 2009

Altered ingredient amounts.Added a little more flour so my son was able to use cutters :D-15 Jan 2011


Scottish Shortbread

This Scottish Shortbread Recipe is very easy to follow and so delicious – follow my tips for making the perfect buttery, crumbly Shortbread. This is old fashioned home baking that will never go out of style.

I have always loved Shortbread but I didn’t attempt to make it myself until my late twenties.

It took me a while to achieve that perfect balance of light yet crumbly and crisp Shortbread, but I’m pleased to say I’ve found a keeper recipe that I can share with you!

While the method of making Shortbread remains the same, the ingredients can slightly differ.

Some recipes use cornflour and icing sugar to make a feather light melt in the mouth Shortbread.

Cornflour isn’t actually a traditional ingredient in Scottish Shortbread, but it does make a lovely light, melting texture. Plus my Mum has always used cornflour, so I do the same!


Delia Smith's Home-Made Scottish Butter Shortbread

This is Delia Smith's recipe for shortbread aptly titled Home-made Scottish Butter Shortbread. According to her, "This is the real thing - it can't be made in a factory. Using the fine semolina gives the shortbread a wonderful crunchy texture, and the flavour is extremely buttery." While it would be best to use golden caster sugar I would suggest you could conventional caster sugar if it cannot be found.

You will also need an 8 in diameter fluted flan tin, 1 1/4 in deep with a loose base.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

First of all, beat the butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon to soften it, then beat in the sugar, followed by the sifted flour and semolina. Work the ingredients together with the spoon, pressing them to the side of the bowl, then finish off with your hands until you have a smooth mixture that doesn't leave any bits in the bowl.

Next transfer the dough to a flat, lightly floured surface, and roll it out lightly to a round (giving it quarter turns as you roll) about the same diameter as the tin, then transfer the round to the tin. Now lightly press the mixture evenly into the tin right up to the fluted edges (to make sure that it is even you can give it a final roll with a small glass tumbler).

Finally, you must prick the shortbread all over with a fork - or it will rise up in the center while it's baking.

Bake the shortbread for 60-70 minutes on the center shelf of the oven - it should have turned pale gold and feel firm in the center. Then remove it from the oven and, using a palette knife, mark out the surface into 12 wedges. Leave it to cool in the tin, then, when it's cold, cut it into wedges. Dredge with the golden caster sugar and store in an airtight polythene box or tin.


SCOTTISH SHORTBREAD COOKIES

In the meantime, here’s a traditional Scottish shortbread recipe all the way from the Shetland Islands to whet your appetite.

This recipe was given to me some time ago and it’s our favourite tried-and-true shortbread recipe. You can keep it really simple by mixing the ingredients and baking in an eight-inch square baking tin and then cutting the still-warm giant cookie into fingers or squares, as pictured above.

You could also if you wanted a crisper cookie, double bake them for an extra 15 minutes after you’ve cut them into fingers.

Alternatively, roll out the dough between two sheets of greaseproof paper, chill for half an hour and then cut into Christmas shapes.

Have you ever visited the Edinburgh Christmas Market? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!


Set the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Put the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the bowl. Work the mixture until it forms a ball (do not beat the mixture). The mixing may take a while.

Divide the mixture into 2 and put a portion into each tin, pressing it into an even layer.

Use the handle end of a fork to flute around the edges of the tins, then use the prongs to prick over the surface.

Place the tins in the centre of the oven and bake for about 30-40 mins, or until the mixture is a pale golden colour.

Remove the shortbread from the tins and cut into petticoat tails, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Dust with caster sugar before serving. (Not suitable for freezing).


All Butter Scottish Shortbread

These cookies are a staple in our house! When we were still living in Scotland before Mr Fab Food’s papers came through for him to live in Canada, one of our favourite biscuits was a house brand from Tesco (a grocery store chain found all over the UK) – Tesco’s Finest Chocolate Chip shortbread. We can’t get them here in Canada, they’re hard to ship and have arrive intact and we don’t get over there/have family come here more than once every few years. So, creating our own version was a must! It’s taken me years to perfect them to be “the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth” according to one friend and “what I imagine Heaven tastes like” according to another. And this year, so good that folks were placing orders for delivery and pick-up so they could have them at their own home for the holidays!

The basic recipe is from one of my most treasured cookbooks – Maw Broon’s Cookbook – from my Scottish besties the year I lived there and met Mr Fab Food. Over the years I have played with the recipe to get the most perfect texture and sweetness so that the cookies melt in your mouth, aren’t too sweet and are definitely “moreish” as the Scottish would say. The ingredients couldn’t be any simpler, but my notes in the bottom give a few tips to make them the most requested cookie at your house too!


All Butter Scottish Shortbread

These cookies are a staple in our house! When we were still living in Scotland before Mr Fab Food’s papers came through for him to live in Canada, one of our favourite biscuits was a house brand from Tesco (a grocery store chain found all over the UK) – Tesco’s Finest Chocolate Chip shortbread. We can’t get them here in Canada, they’re hard to ship and have arrive intact and we don’t get over there/have family come here more than once every few years. So, creating our own version was a must! It’s taken me years to perfect them to be “the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth” according to one friend and “what I imagine Heaven tastes like” according to another. And this year, so good that folks were placing orders for delivery and pick-up so they could have them at their own home for the holidays!

The basic recipe is from one of my most treasured cookbooks – Maw Broon’s Cookbook – from my Scottish besties the year I lived there and met Mr Fab Food. Over the years I have played with the recipe to get the most perfect texture and sweetness so that the cookies melt in your mouth, aren’t too sweet and are definitely “moreish” as the Scottish would say. The ingredients couldn’t be any simpler, but my notes in the bottom give a few tips to make them the most requested cookie at your house too!


Pre-heat the oven to 160C/140C Fan and get your child to lightly grease 2 baking trays. We normally just use a little scrap of the butter wrapper with butter and wipe it on.

Mix the ingredients together

Get your little chef to help you weigh the flour and sugar and put them in a large mixing bowl.

Measure the butter and get your kids to chop it into small pieces (this will make it easier to rub in). Pop it into the mixing bowl.

Using your finger tips rub everything together gently until you have a fine breadcrumb.

Make the the Mary Berry shortbread

Knead the mixture gently to bring it all together in a ball of dough. The less you work the dough, the softer and crumblier your shortbread will be, but we had to do this for a while to stop the mixture crumbling apart when we tried to roll it out.

Lightly sprinkle some flour down on your work surface.

Roll your dough out until it is around 5mm (1/4 inch) thick. Using a 5cm fluted cutter, cut circles out and place them on your baking tray. This is a great task for little ones to help with – it’s great for finger dexterity and just like playing with playdough.

Prick each biscuit with a fork and sprinkle them with a little Demerara sugar.

Bake the Scottish shortbread

Pop the baking trays in the oven for 15-20 minutes. They’re ready when they are starting to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.


Cook's Notes

The most important variable I found with my many batches of shortbread was in the butter. Less expensive/lower quality butter contains a lot more moisture and will result in a more moist dough. And that's not really what you want with shortbread. While it will still work, the texture of the finished cookie will not be quite the same. So spring for the best butter you can find! (I used Stirling butter here).

You can use salted or unsalted butter here. The quality of the butter is the most important, so if it happens to be salted, that's fine. If unsalted, add 1/4 tsp salt to the dough.

If you like to experiment, instead of 1/2 cup regular white sugar, use 1/4 cup superfine white sugar and 1/4 cup regular white sugar. The superfine sugar does lovely things to the finished texture, though I found it a little too sweet when I tried all superfine sugar.

I think Rice Flour is quite easily found these days. You'll often see it in the Asian food section at grocery stores, or with the natural/gluten free foods. It is a low gluten flour, that lends a more tender crumb to the shortbread. If you can't find rice flour, you could substitute cornstarch (though I prefer the results with rice flour, so I think it's worth seeking out).

While I often bake with unbleached, all purpose flour, I like to use bleached all purpose flour for these cookies, as it makes for a lovely light coloured cookie.

Don't expect this dough to really "come together" as you are mixing it. It will and should be sandy, with small, even-sized pieces of butter. If you squeeze a small bit together though, it should clump (you can see a "clump" in the process photo below where it's dumped into the pan. That is a clump, not a lump of butter on top.) After adding to your pan, use your kitchen spatula to press down firmly into the pan. I've added some pictures just to assure you that yes, this is what it's supposed to look like :)

Again though, if your butter has a lot of moisture, your dough may be more moist.

For the final cooking period (with the oven off), leave in the oven for 30 minutes for crisp, but still light coloured cookies or 45 minutes for crispier, lightly golden cookies. I personally find about 40 minutes just perfect.

If you like, you can sprinkle a little white sugar on top of your cookies before the final baking.

As these cookies have a very fine texture, they are quite fragile and prone to breaking as you work through making them. If you are just making for yourself, no worries if one or two break, but if making these to gift, consider cutting smaller pieces (1-inch x 2-inch maybe), so they will be less likely to break.

If you find your cookie sticks break in the middle, you can often "repair" them before the final cooking by simply pressing the two pieces together well. They will often mend together during the final bake.


Scottish Shortbread Cookies

Delicious, crunchy and crumbly, this traditional Scottish shortbread is simple to make.

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces, weight Plain Flour
  • 4 ounces, weight Caster (superfine) Sugar
  • 8 ounces, weight Butter
  • 1 ounce, weight Caster (superfine) Sugar For Dredging

Preparation

1. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the sugar. Work in the butter with your fingertips. Keep it in one piece and gradually work in the dry ingredients. Knead well.
2. Pat down on a work surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough to about 1/2 cm (1/8 in) thickness and cut out with a cookie cutter. You will probably have to keep pushing the dough back together again, as it is very crumbly.
3. Slide the cut biscuits off the work surface with a knife and onto a baking sheet.
4. Bake in the oven at 170C (325F or Mark 3) for about 8 minutes until firm and pale golden brown.
5. Lift onto a cooling tray with a spatula and dredge with caster (superfine) sugar.


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