Today is shortbread day at my house. I’m only making 2 kinds, so it’s not chaos in my house, but it sure smells good! Of course I’m making Nanny’s shortbread. It’s Dad’s very favourite, and my Christmas baking wouldn’t be complete without it. The second variety is called Scotch Shortbread, from The International Cookbook, 1929. On the plate above, the Scotch shortbread is the top left, Nanny’s is the lower, lighter cookies.
Now please don’t tell me that “REAL” Scottish shortbread is made with white sugar… or shaped like triangles…. or stuffed with haggis….. I am just passing along the recipe as it’s printed, and authentic or not, it’s really good. Even my other half, who much prefers my ginger molasses cookies to any shortbread likes it a lot…. even more than Nanny’s…..
The recipe is very similar to the brown sugar shortbread I make most years, and I know that it’s good, so I had no fear of disappointment. And with only 3 ingredients, it’s super easy, and even faster and easier to shape, since you just roll it out into one big slab and cut it into diamond shapes. My diamond shapes are… well… perhaps less uniform than some, but I remind myself that during the holidays, some people are indulging heavily, and others just want a tiny taste, so my lopsided, different sized “diamonds” are just perfect.
I used my old stand mixer to cream the butter and brown sugar first, then added the flour, bit by bit. The clunks and groans of my old mixer made me think longingly of a new one, but it did the job. When it was all mixed, I rolled it out and cut it diagonally, pricked it with a fork, and put it onto a cookie sheet and baked as directed. I did use an insulated cookie sheet, and ended up giving it a few minutes longer than it called for. I’m not sure if that’s because of the insulated cookie sheet or other factors, but I’d check it after the prescribed fifteen minutes, and add time as you see fit.
The International Cook Book was a group effort. It was compiled and written by Margaret Heywood “in co-operation with World’s Famous Chefs.” It then goes on to list a page and a half of these chefs – Chef Anthony Rota, of The Mayflower, in Washington D.C., Chef A. Franchi, of Chateau Laurier, in Ottawa, Canada, and Chef William H. Hasel, of the S.S. Adriatic of the The White Star Line, to name just a few.
The book is “Dedicated to The Homemakers of the World, that’s its use may prove of real benefit in the development of better food and service and may create a broader conception of Table Hospitality.”