We went to Scotland for a week long holiday which I will share more about soon! But within a few days of being there I immediately craved Scottish shortbread. I mean, are we even in Scotland if we don’t have shortbread? So on our first rainy day, we made the very best of the weather and headed to the kitchen to bake our very best shortbread recipe I could find.
Shortbread is basic, simple, and satisfying, but there are so many variations! It was a bit overwhelming at first. And Scottish shortbread is thicker, more cake like than many of the biscuit / cookie styles that are more common around other parts of the UK. So I have created a simple three ingredient recipe which you can adapt easily. It is simple to make with little ones, and all will enjoy it!
Scottish Shortbread Recipe:
- 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose / plain flour
- 2 sticks (230 grams) very good quality unsalted butter, cubed and softened at room temperature (the better the butter, the better the shortbread)
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) *caster sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 175 degrees C.
- Place the caster sugar, flour, salt and butter in a bowl and combine until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs but is soft and pliable and comes together in a dough when you press it together between your fingers.
- Pour the mixture into a greased 8×8 inch (shortbread roughly 3/4 inch thick) or a 9×9 inch (shortbread about 1/2 inch thick) baking pan. You can also use a round cake pan which looks lovely too. Use your fingers and hands to firmly press down the mixture.
- Prick the shortbread with the tines of a fork, creating rows. Some people run a knife between each row of fork tines to make cutting the shortbread easier after it’s baked. That’s optional, too.
- Place the shortbread on the middle rack and bake for 30-35 minutes or until light golden and firm. Let cool. Cut and serve.
- Store the shortbread in an airtight container for up to several weeks. Its flavor and texture improves over time.
A note on caster sugar as my American family have asked before… It is not regular granulated sugar and not powdered sugar. Caster sugar is very fine granulated sugar. Caster sugar is commonly used in British baking and it’s an all-around smarter choice than granulated. The reason is that the sugar crystals in granulated sugar are much larger and take longer to dissolve during baking and may not dissolve completely. Caster sugar dissolves more rapidly leaving a finer texture to the baked good.
Did I mention the ultimate indulgence? I decided to use our last few squares of shortbread on top of a pile of Scottish strawberries and cream. I mean, who could resist?
If you do love to learn more about this food, I highly recommend Felicity Cloake, an amazing food writer for The Guardian, who covers the shortbread brilliantly. There are hundreds of years of history you must read it here. But also, our lovely Contributor Vanessa has shared a recipe for her Wild Flour shortbread and she is such a great cook that it is the next one I plan to try!
And if you are looking for other simple recipes, this is our favourite three ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe! So simple, so good.