Thanks to Grannie Bell's old fashioned recipes for shortbread cookies, you can make delicious shortbreads with a rich, buttery, Old Country taste. And the good news is they're easy enough for a child to make with a wee bit of help. You won't have any trouble making them.
Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)
Forgive me! I was in such a hurry to taste the shortbread when I made the cookies pictured above that I didn't take time to shape them properly. They aren't fancy looking, but they tasted buttery delicious.
Believe me, everyone will rave about your rich, melt-in-your-mouth shortbreads when you use an old fashioned shortbread cookie recipe that was prized by generations of cooks.
Some of these old fashioned recipes for shortbread cookies originated much earlier than the 1920s, as they were used by my Grannie Bell years before Mom copied them into her scrapbook. Grannie learned how to make shortbread as a young girl while living in Uphall, Scotland.
1 cup icing sugar, 2 cups butter, 4 cups flour. Mix well, knead until the dough begins to crack, shape into a round cake about 1/2 inch thick, crimping the edge like a pie crust, or roll out and cut like cookies, or prepare as you would icebox cookies.
Bake on ungreased tins in a slow oven until delicately browned. Allow the shortbread to cool on the tin.
1/2 cup brown sugar, fruit sugar, or icing sugar
1 cup butter
2 cups flour
Cream butter, add sugar gradually and cream together, add flour slowly, and when a stiff dough is formed, turn out onto a floured board. Gradually knead in the flour till dough begins to crack.
Roll out 1/4 inch thick, cut in fancy shapes, and bake in a slow oven (325°F to 350°F) until shortbreads are slightly browned, about 25 minutes.
1 cup butter
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup icing sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat for 10 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.
Drop batter by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 325°F for about 10 minutes.
Remove onto wire racks and cool completely before serving, storing, or freezing. Makes about 4 dozen shortbread cookies.
One pound butter, 1/2 pound icing sugar, 1 pound flour, 1 egg, 3 teaspoons lemon extract. Cream butter and sugar, add well-beaten egg, flour, and lemon extract.
Turn on board, adding enough flour until stiff enough to roll. Cut in shapes and bake in moderate oven until delicate brown.
3 cups flour, 1 cup icing sugar, 1 cup butter. Cream butter until soft, then work in sugar mixture. Tip sugar mixture onto flour and work in well.
Cut into squares, rounds, or shapes, or press mixture into a greased pan and bake 30 minutes in a moderate oven. Cool on rack.
Whether it's store-bought or homemade, I find it hard to resist eating shortbread cookies. They're so rich and so good.
Walkers is currently the largest Scottish manufacturer of high quality butter shortbreads, exporting to over 60 countries. They also carry a Royal Warrant from Queen Elizabeth II to supply their bakery goods to the Households of Her Majesty.
Ever since the Walkers opened its doors in 1898, the company has never strayed from their goal to sell the world's finest brand-name shortbread. Flour, sugar, butter, and salt are the only ingredients used in Walkers' recipe, and the secret to the wonderfully buttery taste is their emphasis on using only the purest, highest quality ingredients and the care they put into its making.
Shortbread originated in Scotland in the 16th century during the reign of Elizabeth I. It was traditionally made with fresh butter and ground oatmeal, but eventually fine flours were used as they became available.
It was the custom to add small comfit candies and fine slices of candied orange and candied lemon peel to shortbread when it was served at feasts celebrating Christmas and the New Year, and sometimes a sprinkle of caraway seeds was customary for flavor.
Today, we can continue the festive custom by pressing pieces of blanched almonds, citron, peel, or candied cherries into each shortbread cookie just before baking.
The decorated cookies seemed to taste better than the plain ones when I was a kid. Did you think so too?
Enjoy trying the old fashioned recipes for shortbread cookies. The secret to knowing how to make good shortbread is to use the best quality ingredients and bake at a low temperature to avoid over browning. It should be almost white or light brown in color when perfectly done.