Shortbread cookies: Buttery delights of Scotland
Anyone who has never seen, eaten, or heard of shortbread, immediately relates it to bread or confuses it with sugar cookies or even butter cookies. But in reality, it has nothing to do with any of those, because this is a biscuit with more fat/butter to flour ratio, denser, less sweet, contains no eggs nor baking powder or baking soda, bakes at a lower temperature, resulting in a brittle, crumbly, tender yet delicate texture. These biscuits are buttery treats that instantly melt in the mouth with every bite.What makes these biscuits so special? Well, it’s a simple five-ingredient recipe that takes much less time, and effort to make compared to other cookies. These biscuits also have the flexibility of being stored away in airtight containers in freezers and can last for three months. Bread and cookie producers all over the world are encouraged to manufacture goodies of high quality because of the rising popularity of shortbread. There are a variety of shortbread cookies that can be paired with a choice of beverage to keep it simple, these varieties can be categorised into sweet, and savory.
Vegan shortbread cookie
Cookies are generally known to be high in calories, but there is always a healthier alternative because instead of using the regular butter you can use vegan butter instead to make vegan shortbread cookies. Vegetarians who avoid dairy in their cookies can still taste the richness, and tender texture of the cookie by adding a little coconut oil along with the vegan butter. From a health perspective, you can go for gluten-free cookies by replacing white flour with almond flour. You can finish by dusting icing sugar or by drizzling melted chocolate to make the platter stand out.
Proper British shortbread
You can identify this recipe by one of the bakers named Mary Berry in the popular Television series The Great British Bake-Off. According to her recipe, semolina flour was added to enhance the sandy texture. However, you can substitute it with rice or cornstarch flour if you want your cookie to be tender. Depending on your preference, you can coat the cookies with coarse sugar which will give them a shimmery appearance.
Lemon cornmeal shortbread
You can hit two birds with one stone when it comes to cornmeal, as it adds a sandy texture to the cookie, and turns it into a sunshine-like colour.
Brown sugar shortbread
White sugar can be replaced with brown sugar to give a butterscotch flavour, the taste of which can be enhanced with a pinch of salt in the dough.
Salted butter and chocolate chunk shortbread
Chocolate doubled in the form of cocoa powder, and Ferrero Rocher can be used to subdue the saltiness of such cookies. To further add crunchiness and sparkle, these cookies can be rolled in sprinkles.
Peach melba shortbread
Even though the name suggests that the recipe requires the use of peach, and raspberry jam, any type of jam or marmalade would also work well. This 20-minute cookie bar bowl can be made using dark cherry jam that would complement almonds used as toppings. To add a seasonal flavour, cranberry preserves can also be used.
Millionaire’s shortbread with Halvah
A layer of Halvah is added between the layers of shortbread and caramel. You can get the taste of sesame because tahini is mixed into the caramel.
Tuscan rosemary shortbread
A light yet savory note is added using rosemary in these sweet cookies. You can go green by having matcha shortbread with green tea. As a herbal option, go for savoury pecan, parmesan and thai shortbread.
Vanilla and chocolate shortbread birdhouses
Forget about going out of your way to find the perfect gingerbread house instead you can choose a tempting shortbread birdhouse made of chocolate and vanilla. You only need icing to keep the shortbread glued together. The cookies can be given as gifts, or hung from trees. Coloured sugar can be dusted on them to add a holiday vibe.
Chocolate orange shortbread cookies
This is a must-try if you are in search of a cookie that is different, and chocolaty. You can use any brand of Dark chocolate, bringing a dark, almost blackish colour to the cookies while adding the richness of the cocoa flavour. The orange zest to be added will go well with the chocolate, by giving more prominence to the orange flavour.
Pecan shortbread cookies
This cookie can be made using butter, flour, pecan nuts, and castor sugar. Castor sugar works better than brown sugar because the cookie turns out crisper, whereas brown sugar creates a more crumbly texture.
As you can tell from the different types of shortbread cookies mentioned here, these baked goods are simple, sheer, plain, yet buttery, crumbly, have a light airiness, and subtle crispness to them as well.
These cookies are especially for times when you are craving baked goodies but have only basic ingredients at hand. Even though such cookies are quite firm making them most suitable for packing with decorative papers, and tin cans, these cookies aren’t just reserved for the holidays but are also a perfect snack that can be dipped in your afternoon tea with friends and family. Making shortbread has become interesting with time, so what are you waiting for? Bake away!
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