October 26, 2008

Scottish Shortbread

Printable version here.

This month’s choice for “This Book Makes Me Cook”, selected by Rachel, is Enid Blyton’s “The Naughtiest Girl In School. Enid Blyton’s books formed a large part of the books that I cut my “reading” teeth on, so to say. I have read most of her mystery series and used to be envious of the girls who went to Mallory Towers and St. Claire’s and had such exciting lives. Now I look back, it seems like the plot in one book was very much like the next, but back then I had a lot of fun reading them.

The main character in this book, Elizabeth Allen, is a spoilt and naughty girl.
In Chapter 1 “The Naughty Spoilt Girl”, her parents have to go away and her governess, a Miss Scott, has had enough of Elizabeth’s pranks and bad behaviour and refuses to stay any longer. So her parents decide to send her to boarding school where she would be looked after well and hopefully learn to behave better.
And so
 “Elizabeth's things were packed and ready. She had a neat brown trunk, with "E. Allen" painted on it in black. She had a tuck-box too, with a big currant cake inside, a box of chocolate, a tin of toffee, a jam sandwich, and a tin of shortbread.”
The word shortbread caught my attention in particular because my daughter loves it. She likes it so much that she has learnt to make it by herself, from one of my cookie books. So it seemed perfect that since we were reading an Enid Blyton book which Akshaya used to enjoy not too long ago (she now thinks such books are for kids), that she make this shortbread which she so loves and I would post it.

This is how Akshaya makes Scottish Shortbread from my cookie book Cookies: Step-by-step Techniques from Sunset Books.


1 ¼ cups all purpose flour

3 tbsp cornstarch

¼ cup sugar

½ cup cold butter, cut into pieces

Some sugar for sprinkling


In a bowl, stir together the flour, cornstarch and sugar. Rub in the butter pieces, using your fingers, till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Gather this into a ball.

Place this ball in an ungreased 8” or 9” piedish, tart tin/ cake tin with a removable bottom. Press the dough out in the pan, firmly into an even layer. If this is not done, the shortbread will not firm up when baked and will crumble. With the tines of a fork, make decorative impressions around the edge and prick the surface evenly.

Bake at 160C for about 40 minutes or till the shortbread turns a pale golden brow. Do not allow it to brown any more or you will find that the bottom of the shortbread will be burnt!
Remove from the oven and sprinkle the sugar over the short bread. While still very hot, mark the shortbread with a knife into 8 or 12 wedges. Allow to cool completely then remove from the pan and serve with tea.

This recipe makes 8 or 12 wedges, depending on how you cut the shortbread.

This Scottish Shorbread is my submission for this month’s This Book Makes Me Cook. Do take a look at what my fellow bloggers Bhags, Rachel, Siri, Dee, Srimathi, Harini, Shweatha and Simran have been inspired to cook.


Mahimaa's kitchen said...

deleeeeeecious Aparna.. this is such a unique recipe i have never even heard of.

Simran said...

Wow! I did shortbread too.

Divya Vikram said...

Looks just perfect!I love shortbreads..Hhappy Diwali!

sra said...

I loved these books too and even remember the para you quoted. Many of my hostel mates would try to have midnite feasts in college because of these books!

Curry Leaf said...

Wow,I too did shortbread :D -chocolate nut

Curry Leaf said...


Nags said...

That seems super easy :)

Ivy said...

It sounds pretty easy to make and it seems that your daughter is following in your footsteps.

Siri said...

the shortbread looks so yummy Aparna..:)) sounds easy too.. thats the best part!


Pearlsofeast said...

lovely recipe Aparna, I always love shortbread.Yours look delectable.

Bharti said...

So rich! I use to devour both- the books and shortbread when I was younger. I should probably make some for my kids.

Sunshinemom said...

That extract brought back so much of my childhood back - nothing can ever make me forget Claudine, Elizabeth or Darrell or for that matter Fatty, Di, Pip......and so on:) That shortbread makes a perfect ode to Enid Blyton!!

Rachel said...

perfect choice Aparna!

Purnima said...

Aparna, wow! Akshaya seems to b a pro at this age! This shortbread is minus eggs! Wow. Baked to perfection by her! Pat on your back-Aks! HAPPY DIWALI to you all!

Priya said...

Eggless Shortbreads Looks Delicious Aparna...awesome pics..

farida said...

Great looking shortbread! It reminded me about a version of Halva they make in one region of Azerbaijan. Happy Diwali to you!

Divya.M said...

love this short bread..im visiting ur blog first time with a chocoholic award...please visit my blog to get this award....http://divyazeasyrecipe.blogspot.com/2008/10/i-had-early-morning-surprise.html

Indranee said...

Lovely crispy shortbread! Wish you a very Happy Diwali!

Soma said...

Happy Diwali !

It felt so good reading about Enid Blyton!! During the summer I got these series from the library for my daughter. I had read them while in elementary school...

the shortbreads look delicious & that too without eggs.. love it.

Rosie said...

Great looking shortbread :)

Rosie x

Aparna said...

I guess a lot of us grew up with Enid Blyton's books.
Except that shortbread, scones, PBJ and the like were figments of my imagination till I grew up. :)

It was fun going back and my daughter enjoyed making this.

Thank you, Divya for the chocolaholic award. I think its perfect for me. :)