Melt-in-Your-Mouth Scottish Shortbread

Author: Meera, September 9, 2013




My Scottish shortbread bearing the traditional thistle pattern

My Scottish shortbread bearing the traditional thistle pattern


Warm Scottish shortbread and tea are two of the simple pleasures of life.


Scottish shortbread, that buttery biscuitlike treat that Scottish cooks are famous for serving at teatime,  doesn’t require a lot of ingredients; it’s basically flour, butter, and sugar. Of course, the dough can accommodate other additions, for example,  bits of dried fruit, chocolate, caraway seeds, lemon zest, chopped dates, and nuts. I like it best plain.


I have many recipes for shortbread. Some are from magazines or books devoted to the subject of Irish or Scottish culinary traditions or foods of the British Isles, acquired during my travels to the lands of my ancestors, namely, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.


With shortbread, more butter, less flour produces a richer biscuity cookie. It’s helpful to remember the basic 2-4-8 formula, that is: 2 ounces of sugar, 4 ounces of butter, 8 ounces of flour, plus a pinch of salt. Mix together, press into a mold, and bake 45-60 minutes in a 325-degree Fahrenheit oven until golden. Dust with sugar.


The following is my favorite recipe, slightly different. It is pictured above. Feel free to add to it your favorite ingredients.




1/2 cup powdered sugar


1/3 cup rice flour


2 cups all-purpose flour


pinch of salt


pinch of baking powder


1  cup unsalted butter





Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit


1. Put dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.


2. Add butter and cut in with a butter cutter or knives until it is thoroughly incorporated into the dough.


3. Knead the dough 2 minutes on a lightly floured surface.


4. Divide dough into two, roll into balls, and cover both in plastic wrap.


5. Chill for one hour.


6. Knead the dough balls back together to soften and then roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness.


7. Press into a shortbread mold or cut into shapes with a cookie cutter.


8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or  until the dough is golden and cooked through, if using a mold. For cookies, bake on ungreased baking sheet.


9. Dust, if you like, with fine granulated sugar (also called castor sugar).










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