Scotland: Shortbread

Scotland is known for many things, their Shortbread being one of them. While Shortbread was traditionally made with fine oat flour and butter, the recipe has been updated to use wheat flour, sometimes mixed with rice flour.

The importance of butter in this recipe has never changed, however, and the flavor of the finished product absolutely relies on it. You would never see a Scot substituting margarine in this recipe. And there's never any salt in genuine Scottish Shortbread, so be sure to use sweet, unsalted butter.

The word "short" in Shortbread means that it contains a lot of shortening (butter), which makes it break and crumble easily. This is the sign of a good Shortbread.

Scottish Shortbread

1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup rice flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter in a mixing bowl until soft. Add sugar gradually and mix well. Soft or whisk together the flours. Gradually add to the butter mixture, mixing well.

Spoon the dough into a 9-inch, ungreased pie pan and use the back of a spoon to press it down smoothly and evenly over the bottom of the pan. With the tines of a fork, make rows of fork pricks on the dough approximately every 1/2 inch.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a light golden-brown. Remove from the pan and cut into 8 wedges. Remove from the pie pan and cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 8 pieces

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