By Ethan UK on May 05, 2005
Photo by KathleenEva
Photo by KathleenEva
"When I was a young kid one or other of us in turn occasionally used to be allowed to wreak havoc in the kitchen. I used to make the most mess - but the best cakes! This is a recipe I asked for from the elderly Scottish pastry cook who used to live opposite. She even had me bake it one time in HER kitchen - none of my siblings were so privileged - boy was I was smug about that! She used to bring over some of the most amazing goodies! I have searched and baked and bought, but never found a shortbread recipe that was anything like as good as this. Fortunately my mum found a 'new' copy of her much-spattered cookbook and she gave me her old one which had this recipe manually type-written and stuck into it. Nobody, but nobody!, bakes better shortbread than I occasionally treat myself to (I DO share some of it!) when I bake using this recipe!!! Do try this one - it's just the ultimate! :) Despite the Scots preference for slightly warmed shortbread I strongly urge you to wait until it's fully cold before devouring - not refrigerated cold, but ideally no warmer (or cooler really) than a cool room temperature. The instructions call for some care in the preparation but as I'm passing on the tips as they were given to me when I was between 8 to 10 years old, I'll pass them on to you rather than leave them out. - She felt they were important for best results, and the resulting shortbread proves she knew what she was talking about! The recipe is very simple and robust enough that a child can make it well, but the best results will come from taking extra special care. This recipe doesn't double well either, sadly. Do especially keep that mixture cool and do it by hand not machine – it’s only a few minutes of fussing about after all! Sorry to those without a set of kitchen scales, recipes in Europe are almost entirely written by weight."
Serving Size: 1 (13 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 28
"This recipe is exactly the sort of shortbread recipe I was looking for! Here in Canada we have a brand of Shortbread called Walkers (it is made in Scotland and imported) that is my favorite and I have been looking for a recipe that would make shortbread just like it. This recipe is even better than theirs! Thank-you for posting this recipe. It will be a go to recipe from now on when I feel the need for shortbread!"
"Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm 18 and from Australia and my Aunty passed away a few years ago and never wrote her shortbread recipe down for us. I surfed the internet for hours before stumbling across your recipe. With Daisy having Scottish heritage and living through the depression, with minimal ingredients I knew this had to be the right recipe. Tasted exactly like hers. Your instructions were very easy to follow and I had no issues with the butter even though it was fairly humid this morning.
I used 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 125g butter pinch of salt and it was perfect."
"I measured everything by weight and found it to be a very dry mix.(This may be because I added the sugar to the flour instead of the butter, then had to try and get it all out o_O) I couldn't knead it on the bench as it was just crumbs. I, instead kneaded it in the bowl for about 8-10 mins, pressed it into the pan... it has come out perfect. I personally would add a wee bit more sugar, perhaps as a sprinkle on top post baking. Other than personal preferences...perfect!"
"Very easy to follow the directions and the taste of the shortbread was as close as I have come to the shortbread I had at a little pit stop on the road to the Isle of Skye. I will be making again, and again..."
"I have a fine tuned kitchen scale and can provide exact measurements by cups. They seem a bit strange but they are correct. 7 ounces of flour is 1 cup plus 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons. 2 ounces of sugar is 1/4 cup, 4 ounces of butter is 8 tablespoons. I used 3 ounces of sugar which is 7 tablespoons or 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon because I like it a bit sweeter. The instructions are a bit vague as to rolling out the dough. Roll out on a counter sprinkled with flour to prevent sticking? Roll out and cut into fingers before putting in the pan or cut the dough into fingers in the pan? Which? I also found the mixture dry and crumbly. I actually didn't use all the flour specified. Left out about 1/4 cup. Flour differs in various countries depending on atmospheric moisture. And I see no reason not to make this in an electric mixer."
"Thank you for the excessive instructions! The recipe turned out great. I made one batch in a square pan, the other in the round. Both look gorgeous and taste like Grandma's. I am so pleased that they were successful on my first attempt. I used regular store brand butter that I had on hand, but I am going to get some of the 'good stuff' for my next batch. Yum."
"I've tried dozens of shortbread recipes and this one is perfect! Period! It tastes exactly right and the texture is amazing! <br/>I DID add crystal, stem ginger, chopped into small bits. About 1/2 cup. I'm a total ginger freak. So, for me, this truly was the perfect shortbread! <br/>I did change a couple of things in the method. I kneaded the dough in the bowl rather than on a floured board for 5 minutes, 10 min. in fridge, and then kneaded another 3 minutes in bowl. I patted the dough into a buttered, parchment-lined, 8X8 pan (easy to remove if you leave a bit of parchment overhanging for easy lift out) and started temperature at 325. After 20 minutes the top and edges were already getting brown so turned it down to 310 for the balance of time. May just be my oven. I have a feeling that these shortbreads could get better tasting if I'd let them age for a while. And, I don't think I can wait around that long!! Brilliant! This is definitely my go-to recipe from now on!"
"Oh, my goodness! I've been making shortbread for over 40 years with a recipe I believed was the best there was. I was wrong! This is the best shortbread recipe EVER! The butter taste stays with you after you finish the cookie; the taste is heavenly! I froze my (salted) butter in 1/2 cup measurements all chopped up in a sandwich baggie. I put the flour, sugar and pinch of salt in food processor, added the frozen butter and whirled away until all I had was tiny crumbs. I then kneaded the crumbs for as long as humanly possible - probably about 7 minutes; I plan to time the kneading time next time--and there will be a next time. Usually every Christmas I make all kinds of cookies, bars, candy, etc to give to family/friends; this year I realize that a gift of this shortbread is all I need to wow everyone! The recipe I had before, while delicious was too soft; this recipe is much firmer and holds the shape and just looks nicer. And then you taste it! I can't think you enough, Ethan, for this perfect shortbread recipe!"
"When I was a child, we used to shop at a tiny bakery that only made Scottish foods. They sold very elegant 7/8 inch Scottish Shortbread Cookies "Petticoat Tails" style. Since then, the bake shop has sadly closed.This Shortbread is magical just like the ones I remember! I learned a few things after making it poorly the first time. 1) Spend the money to buy really high quality (salted) butter! It makes a huge difference! 2) As mentioned in this recipe it is very difficult to tell when it is done.. but not overdone. It takes practice. The first one I made was just barely dark and it was well overdone. It took a lot less time then I expected. Only about 30 minutes for Petticoat Tails at 325 degrees. 3) Thickness really does matter... I made mine too thin and it became dry, crumbling, and chalky. This also probably had to do with it being overdone. 4) Finally, working the dough by hand and having patience with it produces a finished product that is so worth it that it will blow your mind!!!"
"I love this recipe! It's exactly the delicious butteriness I was looking for! I'll definitely be making them plenty more times!"
"5 star "True Scottish Shortbread, thank you! I was not sure my measurements were correct so I made it twice. Patted the dough 1/2 inch thick and after baking, I found I made twelve cookies or 24 very small cookies. Delicious!!!! 1 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 1/8 tsp salt. (1/8 salt in flour, 1/8 salt in butter). Yummy! Thanks again... How about "True Scone" recipes ???"
"Please, you deserve 5 stars because you perfectly nailed the recipes. Thanks"
"I love shortbread. I eat it every chance I get. I made it for the first time today using this recipe. It was the best I have ever tasted. Without a doubt, the absolute best in the world. The instructions were lovely. Thank you. I used my postal scale to measure the flour and sugar, eight ounces of butter is one stick. I followed Ethan UK's instructions, and kneaded it for the full ten minutes. Ugh! My arms ached, but my mouth was happy!"
"The directions are easy to follow and thorough enough for a first time baker like me to follow. The resulting shortbreads are the best I've ever tasted. Now I'm interested in cooking. Thanks Ethan UK!"
"Made this for my 19 year old brothers birthday, they were gone within an hour and his mates were begging me to make more lol :) Great recipe!"
"I live in the U.S. and had no problem with the measurements as we were taught how to convert measurements in school. 1 cup = 8 ozs or 1/2 pint, 2 cups = 16 ozs or a pint, a stick of butter is 1/2 cup, 1/2 stick is 1/4 cup , 3 T = 1/4 cup. This site offers conversion, a real bonus! There are free online conversion tools for any measurement, weight, volume, etc. I've been looking for an excellent shortbread, thanks Ethan in UK!"
"I am thirteen, hitting fourteen and obviously less experienced than adults in the kitchen. Anyway, I have chefs fever and do bake a lot of cakes and biscuits, but have never tried to bake shortbread. Despite there only being a few ingredients, scottish shortbread is so hard to get right. Yet this recipe was so simple and easy to follow (I was absoloutly sure there was some sort of catch!) and gave outstanding results. I hope to surprise my mum with some on on mothers day! Thankyou"
"Hard to rate as it is all done by weight and have no clue how to change it to cups which is the common form of measurement in North America. Sorry, 'cause it looks and sounds like a great recipe"