Shortbread is one of those biscuits that I adore. If you put a plate of shortbread in front of me then I have to eat it, there is something about the meltingly buttery taste that goes perfectly with a cup of tea. Originating from Scotland, it is well known though out the world. Shortbread is really simple to make and just contains three main ingredients, butter, flour and sugar. I always have these lurking in my cupboard so I can make it easily whenever I fancy. I don’t make it often though as I would end up piling on weight.
What I wasn’t aware of was that shortbread had been around for many years, it goes back to the 12th Century where it started life as biscuit bread. Dough left over from making bread was sweetened and dried out in the oven. Over time the yeast was replaced with butter and it became the shortbread we know today. Short is a culinary term that is used for biscuits and pastry when they are crumbly. In the past shortbread was expensive and was kept as a treat for special occasions like weddings, Christmas and New Year. It was also a great favourite of Mary, Queen of Scots.
I decided I was going to make Cherry Shortbread as I had some glacé cherries that I needed to use up. I also had some white chocolate chips left from when I made Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip cookies so I added these. I haven’t included them in the recipe as I only had a handful. As Valentines Day is on the way I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to make shortbread hearts. These would make a lovely gift boxed up with some pink tissue paper.
Whilst they are baking a lovely aroma filled the house, so much so that my son kept coming and gazing into the oven, asking if they were ready yet. He then had to wait for them to cool, rather impatiently, until he was able to try them. They are delicious and one is not enough, you have to keep going back for more. The Cherry Shortbread was also a big hit with the family, my husband even remarked that I had excelled myself this time. Great praise indeed.
Cherry Shortbread Recipe
- 350 g plain flour
- pinch salt
- 225 g butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 125 g glace cherries
- Preheat the oven to 17OC, 325F, Gas Mark 3
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl
- Rub the butter into the flour and then add the sugar
- Keep kneading until you get a dough, add the cherries and mix well though the mixture.
- Roll out and cut into shapes. Place on a greased baking tray
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until golden