Showing posts with label Scottish shortbread. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scottish shortbread. Show all posts

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Scottish Shortbread for #RandomRecipe Tea Time Treats

Once again, I am taking part in the #RandomRecipe challenge! This month Belleau Kitchen has gotten together with two other fellow food bloggers, Karen and Kate to come up with our theme for this month’s challenge: Tea Time Treats.  So rather than choosing a random recipe from ALL of my cookbooks, I was allowed to choose from the ones I thought would best exemplify tea time food, which for me means British food.  (If I read the instructions correctly.)  Top of my list were Elizabeth David, Delia Smith, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver and their many cookbooks in my collection.  I was delighted when my random choice fell on Jamie’s Great Britain and then, coup of all coups, it opened to Scottish Shortbread.  I was sort of hoping for a savory treat because, as many of you know, I am not a big sweet eater but these biscuits are deliciously simple (only four ingredients!) and not too sweet.  I am, on the other hand, a lover of all things British, including my dear husband, so this challenge was right up my street, as they say on the small island.

1.6 cups or 7 oz (by weight) or 200g flour
Scant 1/4 cup or 50g sugar, plus extra for sprinkling over
Generous 1/2 cup or 125g unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt (This was my addition, because even sweet things need some salt.)

Preheat the oven to 325°F or 170°C.

Mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a mixing bowl.

Cut your butter into pieces and, using a pastry blender, mix it into the dry ingredients.

Once it is almost all mixed in, use your thumb and fingers to make sure that all the lumps of butter are gone.  Jamie says, “Don’t knead it, you just want to pat it down flat,” but I am here to tell you that this was so crumbly that you couldn’t knead it if you wanted to.

Push the crumbs together in the side of the bowl and scrape the resulting lump out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Press it into a flat circle using two hands, one on the outside and one pressing the dough down and out towards your other hand.  Keep going around the circle until it is compact and flat all over.  I couldn't  take a photo with both hands in place, so just put the next two photos together and you'll get the idea.

Left hand holding the side in.

Right hand pressing it flat and pushing the side out.

If it breaks apart, just press it back together but remember, the less you work the dough the lighter and flakier the shortbread will be.

I also crimped the edges, as you can see, but the decorative edge really doesn't show up once baked so just do it if you feel like it.

Gently score lines on the shortbread with a sharp knife, then make some shallow decorative indentations with the tines of a fork.

 Sprinkle over some sugar, then pop the baking sheet into the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes.

Keep an eye on it - you want a lovely light golden color.  Mine turned out a little darker than I would have liked, but it was still delicious.  Truly, shortbread is one of the great mysteries of baking. Without leavening of any kind, these delectable treats do turn out light and flakey somehow.  It must be magic.

When it comes out of the oven, cool for just a minute or two and then, using a sharp thin knife, cut through where you scored the shortbread.   After scoring and baking, you are supposed to be able to snap these apart but that has never worked for me and I end up with irregular shortbread and a small pile of crumbs.

Leave to cool completely and then separate the pieces.  Store any leftover shortbread in an airtight container.  If you have a lovely thistle teapot given to you by a dear Scottish friend, this would be the appropriate time to bring it out.  Shortbread is best served with a nice hot cuppa.


Update:  A couple of days after I made the shortbread, I had guests for dinner.  Taking the simple shortbread a step farther, I dressed it up and called it dessert: a wedge of shortbread, two scoops of store-bought vanilla praline ice cream, all drizzled with warm homemade salted caramel sauce.

To see what other tea time treats have been created for this challenge, please follow these links and scroll to the bottom on their websites: