Shortbread started off with very humble beginnings – as the slow cooked off cuts of bread dough. Eventually, butter took the place of yeast to more closely resemble the shortbread we know and love today. With its buttery richness it’s not hard to imagine that shortbread was once considered a luxury and could only be afforded for special occasions such as weddings, Christmas or New Year’s Eve. A particular variety known as “petticoat tails”, flavoured with caraway seeds was apparently a favourite of Queen Victoria.
For this iteration of the Scottish favourite, I used classic gingerbread cookie cutter shapes, which would be perfect to use if you’re cooking with the kids! For a more grown up version, you could create the classic shortbread fingers or the wheel shape sliced into triangles (i.e, the petticoat tails).
- 500g plain flour
- 300g unsalted butter
- 250g caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 egg
- 2 vanilla pod (seeds only)
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius (356F).
- Mix the sugar, diced butter (soft) and vanilla seeds in an electric mixer until the mixture become creamy and slightly white.
- Then add the egg yolk and whole egg and mix until well combine.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder together and add it to the butter mix. Mix on medium speed, until you have a smooth dough.
- Roll the dough on a slightly floured bench to the desired thickness, I recommend about 3-4 mm.
- Using a pastry cutter cut different shapes and place them on a flat baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Bake for 20 minutes or so until the sides of the short bread becomes golden. Cool them down cooling rack.