A true Scottish Shortbread recipe uses butter and flour to produce that mouthwatering taste. A proper recipe should result in a hard cookie that keeps well.
Shortbread was a special treat, popular at Christmastime and Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve).
It’s traditionally one of the foods offered to “first-footers” after midnight on New Year’s Day. See more about Hogmanay.
While shortbreads can be baked into fingers, we also like the circle or “petticoat” style, which is divided into slices.
Set oven to 400°F. Cover a rimmed cookie sheet with wax paper. Sift the flours together and add salt if you’re using unsalted butter. Ideally, sift the dry ingredients a couple times. Cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon. Add the sifted ingredients and mix by hand until you have a soft dough. Be careful not to knead and overhandle or the shortbread won’t have as delicate a taste.
Shape into medium-thick, round cakes the size of a saucer, place on cookie sheets, prick with a fork, and flute the edges.
Or, press into a large circle about 8 to 10 inches across and about ¾ inch thick. Mark out 16 ‘slices’ with a knife (just don’t cut all the way through) and put this on the cookie sheets. Or you can use any round cake pan. Prick dough with a fork and flute the edges with your thumb and forefinger.
Or, instead of a large circle, you can press the dough into squares and smaller circles the size of a saucer.
Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an air-tight cookie tin or container.