Darren McGrady, former personal chef to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has released a video on his YouTube channel, giving away a very special shortbread recipe with a key secret ingredient.
In the video, Chef McGrady reminisces of his days at the Queen’s Scottish residence, Balmoral Castle, saying he remembers making a batch of shortbread at least once a week to satisfy the Her Majesty’s famous sweet tooth.
“The chefs loved heading up to Balmoral Castle. It’s a 50,000 acre estate and it’s just full of local ingredients and produce. The venison off the estate, the salmon from the river Dee; everything is just so fresh,” he explains in the coveted footage.
“To top it all, it has its own vegetable garden that supplies the house the whole time the Royal Family are there.”
Rich, buttery, melt-in-the-mouth shortbread has been a staple on afternoon tea menus forever. It’s a very simple biscuit to make, and a standard recipe uses just three simple ingredients, butter, sugar and flour.
This being a recipe fit for royalty, of course there has to be a couple more things to make it extra special. The first is the addition of vanilla paste, offering a delicate floral note which works wonderfully with earl grey tea. The second addition – and crucial for that melt-in-the-mouth texture is cornflour.
Cornflour softens the shortbread, making it less glutenous, and instead of snapping like a regular biscuit, this one just crumbles into buttery perfection.
In this recipe, Chef Darren McGrady uses a classic Scottish shortbread mould with a thistle – the emblem of Scotland, click the link below to get yours.
Balmoral Shortbread Recipe
- 225g (8oz) plain flour
- 225g (8oz) butter
- 115g (4oz) icing sugar
- 115g (4oz) cornflour
- 1tsp salt
- 1-2tsp vanilla paste
Preheat the oven to 175C/Gas 3½. Add all of the ingredients, except the vanilla in a large bowl and work together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the vanilla and lightly bring together.
Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead to form a dough.
Dust a classic scottish shortbread mould with flour and press the dough into the cavity. Using a sharp knife, trim the top to make a flat surface, alternatively you can use a round cake tin, or roll out and cut fingers or rounds.
Gently turn out the shortbread and place onto a lined baking tray. Using a fork, prick the surface of the shortbread all over and bake in the oven for around 20 mins – you want the shortbread to remain a light sandy colour.
Once baked, remove from the oven and, using a sharp knife, score the surface of the shortbread into wedges, this will create a defined break when it comes to portioning. Dust the surface with sugar and leave to cool for at least 1 hour. Enjoy with a cup of tea of your choice.
Top tip for making The Queen’s personal chef has revealed the recipe for Her Majesty’s favourite royal shortbread
Why not add dried lavender or citrus zest for something different