Shortbread-Traditional Scottish Style

My Mom and I 1950 on Highlands tour
As a Scot, shortbread was the first thing I learned to bake. Growing up during the war in Scotland, sugar, butter (and everything else!) was severely rationed and families saved and saved to be able to bake a few treats for Christmas.

Shortbread was always at the top of the list. I have to tell you about one year when the shortbread was a disaster. In those days we didn't have supermarkets where everything was prepackaged as it is today. You went to the store and the grocer weighed out what you wanted, be it sugar, salt, flour, split peas, tea, etc.

Everything came in identical blue bags, neatly folded at the top but, of course, there were no labels. Well, one year my grandmother made the shortbread but when we tasted it.....she had mistaken the salt for the sugar!

As with many ethnic recipes, you will find that every family has its own variation. With shortbread, some families use cornstarch with the flour, others use fine semolina. I have changed our family recipe a little over the years to include rice flour* as I find it adds a delicious "shortness". I hope you will enjoy it.

Preheat oven to 325°

½ lb. unsalted butter at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
2¼ cups flour
¾ cup rice flour

Using a food process or mixer, cream the butter and sugar well.  Add the flour and process or mix until a dough forms.

Knead by hand to form a ball.  Divide in thirds and pat into  three 7inch tart pans.  Crimp the edges as demonstrated and prick with a fork.  Bake at  for 20 to 25 minutes or just until shortbread starts to color.  Remove from oven, sprinkle lightly with sugar and cut into wedges.


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