We love creamy, Scottish shortbread dipped in our cup of tea.
North of the border, Scottish shortbread in a tartan tin, is the ubiquitous tourist souvenir and while it definitely makes for a luxury gift, it’s also surprisingly easy to make yourself. Buttery Scottish shortbread is a firm biscuit that delivers a delicious, melt-in-the-mouth crumbliness. The recipe dates back to the 12th century and later became a firm favourite of the ill-fated Mary Queen of Scots, whose French chefs refined the recipe and gave it the distinctive petticoat tail shape, still popular today. Tradition has it that a decorated form of shortbread was crumbled over a bride‘s head on her wedding day as she crossed the threshold of her new home. Sounds like a recipe for divorce, if you ask us.
- 350g plain flour
- 125g caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 250g butter
- Caster sugar, for dusting
- 2 x 23cm round sandwich tins, buttered and base-lined
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).
Top tip for making Scottish shortbread
Woman's Weekly cookery editor, Sue McMahon, suggests putting all the ingredients in a food processor if you want to to make this quickly and whizz until it starts to bind together.