Shortbread dates back many hundreds of years. Originally, leftover bread dough was slow cooked in an oven until it became hard. From this very humble beginning Scottish shortbread was developed by replacing yeast with increasing amounts of butter. A very basic food was changed into an expensive treat.
The word "shortbread" refers to the higher than normal amount of butter (or other fats) in the mixture. This results in a cooked biscuit which almost melts in the mouth.
There are many regional varieties of shortbread and the recipe below, courtesy of June Colston, is the best we know of. It consists of only five readily available ingredients and is simple to bake. Our step by step instructions and pictures leave nothing to chance.
170g / 6oz Plain flour
115g / 4oz Self raising flour
115g / 4oz Caster sugar
56g / 2oz Cornflour
230g / 8oz Butter
Melt the butter gently in a saucepan then add the melted butter to the dry ingredients and mix well with a fork or spoon.STEP 2
Flatten the mixture into the tin, then mark out the fingers and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Prick with a fork for an authentic look and put in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes.STEP 3
When cooked and still warm, cut through the marks made in the top of the shortbread and leave to cool.
Cut the shortbread
When the shortbread has cooled, turn out onto a plate and serve with a delicious cup of tea. If you store the shortbread biscuits in an air tight container and in a cool dark place it will keep very well for three or four days.