With the majority of my family having been born in Scotland, it’s no wonder that I grew up around Scottish inspired food. (And boy, did my family LOVE food…) The sweets I ate as a child were no exception. From rock candy (Edinburgh Castle Rock, not that gross “sugar-crystal-on-a-stick” stuff that they sell at theme parks here in Canada!) to shortbread, Scotland is definitely known for some timeless sweet treasures. Every Christmas when my grandma made shortbread, I could have sworn that it was something that took so much effort and time because of how good it tasted. Classic shortbread has four simple ingredients: flour, butter, sugar and vanilla extract. I find that icing sugar works best in shortbread, however you can use granulated sugar if you like. For different flavours, you can always add in ingredients like cocoa powder, espresso powder, chocolate chips, butterscotch or peanut butter chips, brown sugar with cinnamon… Your options are almost endless! You can also drizzle some chocolate over the finished shortbread for a little something else! (Which is exactly what I did with my most recent batch!) 🙂
- 1 cup unbleached all-purposed flour
- 1/2 cup butter at room temperature (for a more buttery shortbread, add an additional 1/4 cup of butter. If using unsalted butter, add a dash of salt to the flour.)
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp granulated sugar for garnish (or you can use a coloured sugar)
- Optional: Belgium chocolate molding wafers for melting and drizzling over the finished shortbread
- In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar until smooth.
- Add the vanilla extract.
- Add the flour and salt, and mix until combined.
- Press the dough into a ball, and place into an airtight container, and place in the fridge to chill for about 10 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove the dough from the fridge.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Break off a small piece of dough (1/12 of the dough), and press together with your hands into an oval shape.
- Place the oval-shaped dough onto the parchment paper, and press and form the dough (carefully!) into a rectangle/bar shape. Repeat this with similar sized pieces of the dough until you have no dough left. (The dough will be very crumbly, so doing a “pressing” motion rather than a “rolling” motion will be more successful with this recipe.)
- Prick each bar softly with a fork to get little spots all over the dough.
- Sprinkle the dough with the granulated sugar, and bake for about 10 minutes. (Finished cookies will be lightly browned on the bottom, do not over cook!)
Note: You can store the shortbread in an airtight container for up to a month in either the freezer, fridge or at room temperature.