Scottish Shortbread {two ways}

Scottish Shortbread | Vagabond BakingShortbread, the king of biscuits as far as I’m concerned. Just four simple ingredients: butter, sugar, flour, salt, its beauty is in its simplicity.

Shortbread is a celebration of butter and a most Scottish of bakes, I’m pretty sure its Scotland’s biggest food export.

I became a bit of a shortbread connoisseur during my years working in retail for a Scottish company. We often did shortbread tasting and I certainly got a taste for it! I don’t like the recipe being over-tampered with, whiskey flavoured is just wrong. A few chocolate chips or a fleck of lemon zest make pleasant changes but it’s the basic recipe that wins me over every time.

The white background in some of these pictures is snow, we’ve had a lot of it today here in Dundee, and it’s kept me indoors, so I baked.

Scottish Shortbread | Vagabond Baking

Often the recipe includes semolina or rice flour as well, this changes the texture, making the shortbread sandier {that’s a good thing!}. I’ve written the recipes below for both.

Which do I prefer? I like the semolina version slightly, just slightly more.

The dough can be made using the rubbing-in method, as I’ve used in this recipe, or the butter can be creamed with the sugar, similar to making sponge batter. This is the method I’ve used for these recipes.

Scottish Shortbread | Vagabond Baking

Scottish Shortbread {two ways}

Version one: 4 ingredients

oven 150 C / gas 2 / 300 F

Baking sheet lined with parchment

  • 125 g {1 + 1/4 stick} soft unsalted butter
  • 75 g {1/3 cup} golden caster sugar {plus extra to sprinkle}
  • 175 g {1 + 2/5 cup} plain flour
  • 1/8th tsp salt

Beat the butter in a large bowl until pale and smooth using a wooden spoon then beat in the sugar. Sift in the flour and salt then stir in until it starts to look crumbly. Bring it together with your hands but try not to over-work it.

Scottish Shortbread | Vagabond Baking

Scottish Shortbread | Vagabond Baking

If you want to cut shapes out, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for an hour.

For just fingers, press the dough into a rough rectangle about 1cm thick using your hands.

I smooth the surface over with a rolling-pin. To make fingers, use a knife to cut 10 or 12 fingers, see the picture below. {If you have a shortbread mould, just press the dough into it.

Scottish Shortbread | Vagabond BakingArrange the fingers onto the lined baking sheet, leave room for them to spread. Prick the surface of the shortbreads with a fork, this prevents them rising up unevenly.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, try to catch them before they start to colour, a little won’t hurt though. Slide the parchment, with the shortbreads still on, onto a cooling rack, sprinkle with caster sugar and leave to cool and firm up.

Scottish Shortbread | Vagabond Baking

Version 2: 5 ingredients

oven 150 C / gas 2 / 300 F

Baking sheet lined with parchment

  • 125 g {1 + 1/4 stick} soft unsalted butter
  • 75 g {1/3 cup} caster sugar
  • 150 g {1 + 1/5 cup} plain flour
  • 50 g {1/3 cup} fine semolina
  • 1/8th tsp salt

As before, beat the butter in a large bowl until pale and smooth using a wooden spoon then beat in the sugar. Sift in the flour, semolina and salt then stir in until it starts to look crumbly. Bring it together with your hands but try not to over-work it.

Use the method above to make fingers or if you want to cut shapes out, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for an hour.

The dough is quite crumbly, I press the dough flat with my hands then flatten smooth with a rolling-pin to about 1 cm thick on a lightly floured surface.

Use a floured cutter to cut shapes, I went for hearts, well it is Valentines Day!

Scottish Shortbread | Vagabond Baking

Scottish Shortbread | Vagabond Baking

Transfer to the lined baking sheet, leave room for them to spread. Prick the surface of your cookies with a fork then bake for 20-25 minutes, without much colour. Cool on the parchment, on a wire rack, they will firm up.

Scottish Shortbread | Vagabond Baking

Scottish Shortbread | Vagabond BakingHappy Valentines Day dear followers!

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Scottish Shortbread two ways // Buttery shortbread is the King of biscuits

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5 Responses

  1. These look perfect! I’ve never baked shortbread using semolina..shall give it a go next time to see if I like the difference.

  2. Oh, I wish I’d seen this before V-Day. Mr. JA is of Scottish descent and this would have been a cool gift. But I’ll make these anyway! :)

  1. March 1, 2013

    […] Scottish Shortbread {two ways}. […]

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