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Baking the perfect shortbread: melt-in-the-mouth recipes

23 JANUARY 2013

Think of foods you associate with Scotland. Haggis, Whiskey and shortbread biscuits are bound to come to mind – maybe even fried Mars bars.

And seeing as Burns night, which celebrates one of Scotland's most famous poets, is fast appoaching on January 25, we've decided to focus on the sweeter side of things, and look at delicious, melt in the mouth, shortbread biscuit recipes.

The name 'shortbread' comes from the medieval term "biscuit bread", when leftover dough from bread-making was dried out in a low oven until it hardened into a type of rusk, and the word "biscuit" itself actually means "twice cooked".



shortbread




Gradually the yeast in the bread was replaced by butter, and biscuit bread developed into shortbread, now known as a classic Scottish dessert.

The signature crumbling texture and buttery lightness that differentiates shortbread from other biscuits is in the quantity of its three main ingredients: butter, sugar and flour. So make sure you follow the recipe precisely.

Chill the dough before baking, and use real, unsalted butter that has been slightly softened – the fat in the butter also adds to the rich, crumbly texture.



shortbread



Go smaller in size. Shortbread will double in height in the oven, and smaller biscuits will mean they are less likely to break or crumble when you eat them.

And bake your shortbread in the top third of your oven. This way you won't get too much bottom heat that will cause the bottom of the shortbread to overcook before the top is done.

Try out these rich, crumbly and scrumptious shortbread biscuit recipes:

 

Cherry and hazelnut shortbread

Salted caramel shortbread

Chocolate dipped orange shortbread biscuits

 

shortbread

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