Shortbread – The Christmas Spirit of Scotland
So I have a bit of a thing for the Scots. There's Braveheart, Sean Connery (my favourite Bond), Nessie and, of course, Bruce, my host Dad in Australia. Then there's tartan, kilts, Edinburgh and the entire wonderful, beautiful country full of lovely people and their very special language...
The Scottish are supposed to be, erm, extremely frugal, to put it nicely. Sounds like a virtue, but is mostly used as an insult. However, it's kind of a fitting description for their shortbread. Shortbread is the umbrella term for sweet shortcrust pastry biscuits, indigenous to beautiful Scotland. They come either oblong-shaped and as long as a finger (shortbread fingers), as fat cookies or big, thin wafers. Even lovely, generous Bruce Down Under was big into tradition when it came to his shortbread, which, classically, is served at Tea Time. Tea parties and invitations of all types are extended particularly in the wintertime, but shortbread also goes well with a cozy Christmas breakfast. I had an additional idea for my own personal shortbread: I decorated my fireplace with wondrously wrapped shortbread fingers stuffed into decorative woollen tartan socks. My imaginary fireplace, that is. These would also look good as a mini-gift on your Christmas dinner table. Shortbread is a simple and delicious biscuit, ideal for baking with big and small cookie monsters - and they're very budget-friendly. The Scottish approve!
I shot these images a while ago for the Suppito cookbook. Their latest version features a delicious and gluten-free recipe for shortbread.
I changed Andrea's recipe slightly - and here it is: my very own gluten-free Christmassy shortbread...
- 100g gluten-free flour (Schär Kuchen & Kekse, for example), alternatively use regular white flour
- 100g buckwheat flour
- 130g butter (at room temperature)
- 30g ground almonds
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 TBSP freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 tsp orange zest from an untreated orange
- 75g sugar
- 50g candied ginger (if you love ginger, feel free to use more)
- pinch of salt
- pinch of cardamom (optional)
- Combine the flours and sift them thoroughly. Wash the orange with hot water, rub dry, grate the zest and juice the lemon.
- In a bowl, combine the flour mixture with the orange zest, orange juice, butter, ground almonds, cinnamon, cardamom (optional), sugar, candied ginger and salt. Add 1-2 tablespoons of cold water, if needed. Knead into a smooth dough and shape it into a block around 3cm high and 5cm wide. Wrap in clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 200° (upper/lower - fan is not recommended in this case), line a baking sheet with parchment, remove the dough from the fridge and cut into 0,5cm slices. Put the slices on the baking sheet and bake on the middle shelf of your preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden. Remove your shortbread fingers from the oven and let them cool down before serving.