Good food is probably not the first association coming up when thinking about Scotland, but after traveling to Scotland three years ago, I must say that this seems a bit unfair. At least, we visited a few very lovely restaurant in Scotland, had some of the most appetizing and fresh organic food in Edinburgh, and in Glasgow, I went to a cocktail bar whose creations quite simply knocked me off my feet (and I mean quality-wise here).
And hey, who does not know and love this simple-to-make, but delightfully buttery and tasty, perfect tea-time biscuit, the Scottish shortbread? I, for one, do, and I very often make them when I have only little time at hand as they are really quick and simple to make, but always delicious. Like recently, when I had planned to bring something home-baked to a birthday, but did not have the time at hand to buy ingredients or prepare something well ahead. So I ended up making these variations of shortbread which were very well received.
Naturally, you may choose to follow the basic recipe or make only one kind of shortbread (in the latter case, increase the optional ingredient of our choice by four times).
By the way, shortbread is traditionally served as a flat cake and cut or broken into segments at the table. If you want to do this, roll out the dough into a round in the last step before baking, place it inside the ring of a baking pan (or similar) and onto baking paper, and mark across into segments.
Ingredients (for 16 shortbread fingers):
- 125 grams of butter
- 55 grams of sugar
- 180 grams of white (all-purpose) flour
- Type 1: 2-3 tablespoons of very finely granulated sugar
- Type 2: 5 grams of fresh ginger
- Type 3: 15 grams of frozen and half-defrosted raspberry
- Type 4: 20 grams of dark baking chocolate (e.g. „Blockschokolade“)
- Beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy and almost white. Beat in the sugar and mix well.
- Pass the flour through a fine sieve onto the butter and start mixing with the kneading hooks of your electric mixer until you have a crumble. Transfer the mix to a baking mat or a clean flat surface and continue kneading into a smooth dough. Form into a ball.
- Divide the dough into four equal-sized parts.
- For the first type of shortbread, form a rectangle approximately 1/2 cm thick that would give you four fingers of shortbread. I find it helpful to put the dough between two sheets of cellophane for forming as it is very brittle. Cut into four fingers and roll them in finely granulated sugar.
- For the second type, finely grate or chop the ginger and knead into the dough. Then form and cut into four fingers as in step 4.
- For the third type of shortbread, roughly chop the raspberry and mix it with the dough. Do not knead the dough for too long or the raspberry will turn into a mush. If the dough gets too moist as the raspberry releases liquid, add a little bit of flour. Form 4 fingers of shortbread. (Admittedly, this type can be a bit tricky to prepare, but it is worth it.)
- For the fourth type, chop the chocolate into small to medium-sized chunks, knead into the dough and then form and cut into four fingers as in step 4.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the shortbread fingers on the tray with a little distance between them. Bake for approximately 22 to 24 minutes.