Scottish Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread

I do love shortbread, I think it’s mainly because I grew up with it, we would visit my Gran’s house and get shortbread for a snack but more so every New Year as this is the tradition in Scotland.

Through the ‘Taste of Scotland’ scheme that promotes authentic and innovative Scottish cooking, Scottish cuisine has enjoying a renaissance and now many believe that the best food in Britain is to be found north of the Border. The story of shortbread begins with the medieval “biscuit bread”. Any leftover dough from bread making was dried out in a low oven until it hardened into a type of rusk: the word “biscuit” means “twice cooked”. Gradually the yeast in the bread was replaced by butter, and biscuit bread developed into shortbread.

Shortbread was an expensive luxury and for ordinary people, shortbread was a special treat reserved just for special occasions such as weddings, Christmas and New Year. In Shetland it was traditional to break a decorated shortbread cake over the head of a new bride on the threshold of her new home. The custom of eating shortbread at New Year has its origins in the ancient pagan Yule Cakes which symbolised the sun. In Scotland it is still traditionally offered to “first footers” at New Year.

Shortbread is traditionally formed into one of three shapes: one large circle divided into segments (“Petticoat Tails”); individual round biscuits (“Shortbread Rounds”), or a thick rectangular slab cut into “fingers.” However, these days as we see some amazing cookie cutter shapes, they can be cut into whatever you like. As it is the Winter Season here just now, I decided to go for some lovely Snowflake Designs.

From memory when my Gran’s used to make Shortbread, the rule of thumb is always 3,2,1, 3 parts Flour to 2 parts Butter to 1 part sugar. Stick with this and you can’t go wrong.


Makes about 10-12 Shortbreads

115g Plain Flour

55g Rice Flour

115g Butter

55g Sugar (Caster or Icing) – (Extra Sugar to finish)

  1. Pre heat your oven to 150 deg C Fan.
  2. In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar, sift in the flours.
  3. Mix until it resembles bread crumbs, then tip onto a floured surface and work by hand to bring the dough together.
  4. Gently roll out to about 1/2 inch thickness, if using a cutter, cut into your designs and lay onto a greaseproof baking tray. If creating petticoats, press into a round baking tin, or fingers, press into a rectangle baking tin. Now refrigerate for about 20 minutes, this helps the biscuits to stop spreading when being baked. Prick the shortbread with a fork and bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven and while still hot sprinkle with some sugar to finish. Allow to cool.


Scottish Empire Biscuits

Empire Biscuits with Jujubes

For a while now I have been trying to perfect my Empire Recipe, and finally I have found a ratio of ingredients and cooking times that work perfectly. (please bare in mind that not all ovens are the same, so you timings may vary slightly). The traditional Scottish way is to decorate with a Jube Jube (they are like big jelly tots), although most people tend to put a cherry on top. To be honest it’s whatever you like, there is no right or wrong. I have even experimented with alternative decorated toppings.

There was a great post from Scotsman Food & Drink a while ago about the largest Empire Biscuit made which measured 36″ diameter. Read all about it here:-https://foodanddrink.scotsman.com/producers/worlds-largest-empire-biscuit-unveiled-scotland/

A bit like Shortbread quantities my Empire quantities are similar, if you start with the flour then butter then sugar and just half quantities as you go, you won’t go wrong.

Empire Biscuit Recipe – this makes 12 biscuits (24 individual biscuits)

450g Plain Flour with an additional 50g being Custard Powder to make 500g

250g butter

125g Caster Sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch salt

Raspberry Jam

Royal icing is best & JuJubes (or cherries) Recipe for Royal icing here:- https://theweecaledoniancook.com/2020/01/25/royal-icing/

  1. Mix everything in a mixer until just coming together, remove from bowl onto a floured work surface and bring together with your hands.
  2. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out to about 1cm or just under. Using your chosen cutter shape cut out your biscuits and place on a baking tray with greaseproof/baking paper.
  3. Preheat your oven to 180 deg and bake for about 10 minutes. You do not want these biscuits to brown, they should be pale in colour. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  4. Once cooled, you can now spread 12 with the scottish raspberry jam and sandwich together. Make your icing and spread on top of biscuit then finish by adding your Jujube. (or cherry)

Crunchy Rocky Road Bites

 

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I’m not a fan of marshmallows but I was cleaning out my kitchen drawers and came across a bag (not sure why they were in there…lol!), they had to be used up, so Rocky Road was the only thing I could think of where I had all the other ingredients and it was quick and easy to put together. My partner was absolutely delighted, he has a very sweet tooth.

 

Makes 6

100g milk chocolate chips – melted

30g butter – melted

1 tbsp Maple Syrup

40g mini marshmallows

80g Crunchy Weetabix bran (you can of course use digestive biscuits or other biscuits of your choosing)

 

  1. Put the crunchy bran or biscuits into a food bag and using a rolling pin, crush till you have a good mix of crumbs and smaller pieces.                                      20190323_152239 20190323_152251
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwaveable bowl for about 50 secs at power 900w. Mix in the crunchy bran biscuits, marshmallows and maple syrup until coated.                                                                                                                   20190323_152510
  3. Pour into a small tin or a muffin tin and press down.  Chill in the fridge for about 2 hours.                                                                                                                   20190323_155439
  4. These need to be kept in the fridge after as they will melt at room temperature, allow to sit at room temperature for about 1 minute before eating. These will keep for about 1 week in an airtight container.

 

 

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Orange & Ginger Shortbreads (with stainglass)

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I have been dying to try this stain glass design for a while, so why not just in time for Christmas. Very simple to create too.

 

Makes about 16 biscuits

175g Plain Flour

2 tsps ginger, ground

Zest 2 oranges

100g butter, chunks

50g golden caster sugar

1-2 tbsp milk

1 tbsp oil for greaseproof paper. (to prevent sweets from sticking)

 

  1. Heat oven to 160C fan. Grease 2 large non-stick baking sheets with oil.
  2. Whizz the flour, ginger, zest and butter with 1⁄2 tsp salt to fine crumbs in a food processor. Pulse in the sugar and milk, then turn out and knead briefly on a floured surface until smooth. Wrap in cling film, then chill for about 30 mins.
  3. Flour the work surface again, then roll out the dough to the thickness of a £1 coin. Use cutters to shape. (see below for centres)
  4. Bake for 15-20 mins until golden brown
  5. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Decorate any way you like.

 

For Glass like Baubles:-

12 fruit flavoured boiled sweets

Place 1 sweet or ½ of sweet into the centre of the biscuits, sweets should be level with the biscuit once melted. (Should melt in the oven ok.) Allow to fully cool and harden before transferring to a rack. – Sprinkle icing if you wish or decorate.

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Just be aware that if eating these the candy is very hard. (Watch your teeth)

If using for decoration on your tree, pierce a hole at the top of the cookies and thread some ribbon through and tie.

 


Chocolate & Orange Biscuits

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Keen to get a good biscuit, you can’t go wrong with these flavours. So yummy!

 

Makes about 15 biscuits

125g Butter – unsalted

175g Golden Caster Sugar

225g Plain Flour

2 tsp baking powder

75g Chocolate 70% – chopped small

Zest of 2 oranges

1-2 tbsp orange juice

 

  1. Start by beating the butter and sugar together in mixer until they’re combined.
  2. Then sift the flour and baking powder straight into the mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients, and work the mixture together until you get a fairly stiff paste.
  3. Now flour a working surface and a rolling pin and roll the paste out to about 1cm thick. Then, using a cutter (5cm), cut out the biscuits and place them on the baking sheets and bake one sheet at a time near the centre of the oven. Bake them for about 20 minutes, or until the biscuits are a nice golden colour.
  4. Take them out of the oven and leave them to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling tray, and finally sprinkle with a dusting of golden caster sugar or icing sugar or decorate – whichever.

Chocolate Coconut Macaroon Biscuits

I first saw this recipe on Pumpernickelandrye, they looked far too good not to give them a try…………………oh and how I was right, they were delicious, light and very moreish. A very simple recipe that packs flavour and satisfaction. Perfect with a cuppa. (or as my boyfriend says ‘perfect on their own too!’ lol!)

They are more like a biscuit or cookie with a little crunch.

Makes 12

80g Granulated Sugar

3 tbsp plain flour

1/4 tsp salt

200g shredded coconut

3 egg whites

1 tsp almond extract

100g chocolate chips

 

  1. Preheat oven to 160 deg.
  2. In a bowl mix sugar, flour and salt together then add the coconut.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg whites and almond extract until foamy but not too stiff.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the dry mixture and combine until moist.  20180217_153025
  5. Lay parchment paper onto a baking sheet and take 1 heaped tbsp of the mixture and place onto sheet.                                                                                             20180217_153750
  6. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes.                                                               20180217_153850
  7. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate drops in a microwave dish for about 30 seconds intervals until melted.                                                                                             20180217_163727
  8. Once macaroons have baked and cooled completely, dip each one into the chocolate to cover base and set aside. I lay back on tray upside down.
  9. Place the macaroons in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes to allow to chocolate to harden. Once hardened, remove and you can then drizzle more chocolate over the top of the bakes (if you have any left, I only had enough for 2……maybe 150g chocolate drops would be enough to do this.) Allow to harden in fridge.
  10. Serve with a lovely cuppa. Oh so Yummy!

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Afternoon Tea Empire Biscuits

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I just love my Empire Biscuits, I do have to say they are rather tasty. Having the afternoon to myself I fancied getting my creativity on this afternoon and trying some new techniques. I thoroughly enjoyed my creating and so glad they turned out…..I don’t have the steadiest of hands…lol. Although my love hearts could do with more practise…lol!

For the Empire Biscuits:-

Makes approx 12 – Empire Biscuits

Designs:-

I used 1 spoonful of the icing in each tub and added food colouring. 20170311_144514

I used a skewer that I had in my kitchen drawer, but anything with a pen like nib would do.

Once you have put your white icing onto your biscuit you then choose your design colours. 20170311_144852

I started off with roses. Put the nib of the skewer into the red colouring and place a small dot onto the icing and start to rock and circle the skewer to make your design. Clean nib then dip into the yellow and add a dot in the middle. Clean nib then dip into the green and draw small leaf shapes at the bottom. Finish design with small dots of colour randomly.

I done the same thing but on a bigger scale for me single rose.

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Then using each colour draw lines on your biscuit.

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Then drag the tip of your skewer firstly down the way then up the way to create the design.

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Happy Baking!


Chocolate & Orange Amaretto Biscuits

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A wee afternoon treat to myself, I love Amaretto and I love coffee, no better way than to combine them. I had some Amaretto flavoured coffee left over so decided to try that instead of the liqueur in the biscuits (as I had none) and it so worked.

Makes 12 biscuits

200g all purpose flour

100g sugar

80g butter

1 egg

1 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp amaretto coffee, my fav from the Edinburgh Tea & coffee Company

1 tbsp orange flavouring

50g cocoa powder

 

  1. Firstly make the amaretto coffee in a cafetiere.                                                                                               20160703_161407
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder ,baking powder and butter together. Then add in the coffee and orange flavouring, mix together until you get a dough like consistency.
  3. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refrigerate for about an hour just enough so you can roll out.
  4. Remove from fridge and roll out to approx 1cm thick, place some greaseproof paper or parchmont paper on a baking tray.
  5. Using a cutter, cut out the biscuits and place onto baking sheet. Bake for approx 15 mins at 200 deg.
  6. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool and crisp up. Sprinkle some icing sugar over and serve.

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I love to dunk mine into fresh coffee……oh so yummy!  20160703_160532 20160703_160545


Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Toffee Mini Cheesecake

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Valentines Day was slowly arriving and I wanted to treat my other half with something different but something I know he would enjoy…his favourite flavours for desserts are peanut butter, chocolate and toffee, so I decided to make some cheesecakes combining all the flavours. It was absolutely delicious!

Makes 12 Mini Cheesecakes

180g Cream cheese
100ml double cream
1 tablespoon of peanut butter smooth
60g Icing Sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
13 Digestive Biscuits
50ml butter melted
Toffee Sauce of your choice – loads of squeezes
12 chocolate buttons or shapes of your choice

 

  1. Melt butter in a pan
  2. Put digestive biscuits into a food processor and blitz, add in melted butter and mix
  3. Put some muffin cases into a muffin tin and scoop digestive mix about 2 tbsp into cases and press down.
  4. Refrigerate for about 20-30 mins
  5. Meanwhile mix cream cheese, peanut butter and icing sugar together    DSC_0064.NEF
  6. In a separate bowl mix double cream and vanilla until you get soft peaks
  7. Fold in cream cheese and cream mix together
  8. Spoon mixture into muffin cases and top with toffee sauce and a chocolate button.
  9. Refrigerate overnight or a min of 12 hours. Serve

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Nutrition Facts
Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Toffee Cheesecake

Servings Per Recipe: 12

Amount Per Serving

Calories: 134

  • Total Fat: 10.6 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 6 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 30 mg
  • Sodium: 118.5 mg
  • Total Carbs: 8.1 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
  •     Sugars: 5.9 g
  • Protein: 1.7 g

Toffee and Chocolate Shortbread with Pecans

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Having my breakfast this morning and sitting looking at the very wet and windy weather through the window, my thoughts were of feeling cosy and warm this afternoon, so I decided I wanted a nice bit of cake to go with my fresh warm coffee. Looking in my cupboards I saw Toffee Sauce and Chocolate and came up with this wee bit of delightful heaven. Cake, Coffee and a Comfy Couch on a rainy day, canny beat it!

Makes 15 squares

110g unsalted butter

105g Soft Brown Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

130g All purpose Flour

Pinch salt

150g chocolate (dark or milk)

30g Pecans – chopped

 

1. Preheat oven to 180 deg.     20151114_102920

2. Line a 20cm baking tin with foil and grease.

3. Mix with an electric mixer the butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth

4. Then mix in the flour and salt and mix until combined but not too stiff.

5. Pour mixture into the baking tin and with a spatula evenly spread out. 20151114_100801

6. Place on middle shelf in oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown.

7. Meanwhile, chop up chocolate into small bits, and chop pecans too.

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8. Once base is ready, pour chocolate bits evenly over and put back into oven for 1-2 mins until melted, remove and spread evenly.

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9. Top with the pecans and allow to cool. Once cool put into fridge to set chocolate (approx 1 hour)

10. Cut into small squares and serve. YUMMY!

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I had some toffee sauce and decided to drizzle over squares which added extra flavour.

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