Thursday came and went and it was baking day again, and I had an excuse to bake, not that I really needed a reason to get stuck into the kitchen. I have friends to bake for, they are going through a rough time with a very sick child, and I thought what would be better to help calm the nerves than a delivery of fresh shortbread and some yummy tea. Food is love.
It’s funny, Mum and I were talking the other day and we have both said that shortbread is another one of those things that neither of us can bake as good as Nan does, even though we use the same recipe. Nan’s was the best, it was pale, tasty, melted in the mouth. Beautiful! I still remember just like it was yesterday (wishful thinking) being a kid in her kitchen, helping press the imprint into the shortbread.
So what did I do? I turned to Google to try and find some tips on making shortbread. Here is what I found;
- Use room temperature butter, not melted and not chilled. If the butter is too cold you’ll need to work the dough too much to work in it and it will make the dough tough.
- Chill the dough and/or prick the biscuits before baking – this will stop the shapes from spreading.
- Don’t work the dough too much, this also means that you’ll need to pat the dough out rather than rolling it.
- If you use cornflour or rice flour it will give it a different texture – more melt in your mouth rather than crumbly.
- Cook your shortbread slow on a low heat, you want a pale colour rather than a golden colour.
Apparently all these things will help me make the perfect shortbread. When I think about it, Nan would have always kept her butter in the pantry rather than the fridge. She wouldn’t have used an electric mixer and she wouldn’t have rolled it, she patted it, and always pricked it.
Inspired by new ideas that I had seen, both on various blogs, and my quest for better shortbread, I thought I’d try a few different flavors, rather than just plain traditional shortbread.
So, embracing my Scottish roots, here is my shortbread. Old recipe. Tried and True Techniques. New twist.