A warm welcome on ‘A pinch of lyfe’.
Christmas bells are sounding close. And here I am sharing one classic festive recipe associated with celebrations.
In each of cultures worldwide, welcoming of new year is one of the most cherishing tradition which includes preparation of some special rich delicacies. If you would notice, ingredients being used in all such recipes would be rich yet quite handy. Recipes too tend to be very simple. In our region and community, such widely prepared, consumed and loved delicacy is Kansaar (Laapsi) which is made with 3 simple ingredients – coarse wheat flour, jaggery and clarified butter (Ghee). As soon as it is done, some more clarified butter is poured and some powdered sugar is sprinkled over it. Besides festivals, same delicacy is made on most of auspicious occasions like wedding and house warming. When I Came to know about Christmas, Hogmanay (Scottish new year) and wedding special delicacy of Scotland – Scottish shortbread cookies, I felt that the heart of this delicacy is very similar to Kansaar!! Yeah!
Scottish shortbread cookies too are usually made with 3 simple ingredients. One part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour. Method of making is quite different, but when they are out of oven, some castor sugar is sprinkled over them too – just like our Kansaar! Other ingredients like ground rice or cornflour are sometimes added to alter the texture. Shortbread cookies are traditionally formed into one of three shapes – one large circle, which is divided into segments as soon as it is taken out of the oven, individual round biscuits or a thick oblong slab cut into fingers. Just after taking it out of oven, some sugar is sprinkled over that.
Actually roots of Scottish shortbread are found in medieval biscuit bread, which was a twice-baked, enriched bread rolled and dusted with sugar and spices and hardened into a hard, dry, sweetened biscuit called rusks. Eventually, yeast from the original rusk recipe was replaced by butter, which became more popular in Britain and Ireland. Although shortbread was prepared during much of the 12th century, the refinement of shortbread is credited to Mary, Queen of Scots in the 16th century. Popular version of Scottish Shortbread with the first printed recipe came in 1736, from a Scotswoman named Mrs McClintock. Shortbread was expensive and reserved as a luxury for special occasions such as Christmas, Hogmanay (Scottish New Year’s Eve), and weddings. In Shetland, there is a tradition to break a decorated shortbread cake over the head of a new bride on the entrance of her new house.!
Here, I am sharing my tried and tasted recipe of Scottish Shortbread Cookies.
Preparation time – 15 minutes.
Baking time – 40 minutes. ( depends upon what temperature you bake)
All purpose flour – 1 cup.
Salted butter – 1/2 cup.
Icing sugar – 1/3 cup.
Rice flour – 1 to 2 tbsp.
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp.
-In a bowl, take 1/2 cup butter and 1/3 cup confectionery sugar. You can add more sugar if you like your cookies sweeter.
– Start whisking them with a wire whisk or an electric beater until the mixture gets light and fluffy.
– Now add 1 tsp vanilla extract and mix well. After that, add one cup all purpose flour and 1 to 2 tbsp rice flour. Whisk it nicely to mix everything well. Your dough is ready. Keep it in the fridge for half an hour to make it workable.
– Take out the dough from fridge now and make cookies of your desired size and shape.
– Place them in the baking tray and bake in preheated oven on 160 degree for approx 40 minutes. Baking time depends upon the thickness of your cookies.
– After taking out your cookies from oven, let them cool down completely on a wire rack.
– Serve or store, this will be a classy treat for sure. Now let me know when you are baking your Scottish shortbread cookies as I am eagerly waiting for your feedback. Happy baking..