In the past, shortbread was eaten
particularly at Hogmanay or Christmas. It is directly descended from the old Yule bannock,
notched around the edges to signify the rays of the sun - which I don't remember seeing
too much of in Scotland. (In fact, we called our frequent rain "liquid
1 cup plain flour - to give it guts
1/2 cup rice flour - to keep it light
1 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
(The rice flour is the secret ingredient!)
Sieve the flours together.
Add the sugar and butter and mix together
until the mixture resembles the consistency of plain pastry.
Form into a round cake and cut into
triangles, or petticoat tails. Pinch the edges and prick all over with a fork.
Bake in a steady oven of 325 degrees until
beginning to brown, then lower the heat and bake for a further 45-60 minutes.
Cool on a cooling rack.
And don't even think about ever adding
chocolate chips to good Scottish shortbread!
I brought a nice round wooden shortbread mold
with me from Scotland, but lent it to a PBS Channel 8 organizer for a special they were
producing for Burns' Nicht. I never got it back and I miss that mold because it is a nice
piece of Scotland to bake your shortbread on a wooden mold instead of on a cookie sheet.
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 cup molasses
1/2 cup quick oatmeal
1 cup hot water
Grease the bottom of a 8" square pan.
Sift dry ingredients together. Combine sugar and butter until well blended. Mix molasses
with water and oatmeal. Mix eggs and extra egg yolks with sugar and butter. Add molasses
mixture and dry ingredients, alternating. Bake 50-55 minutes at 350 degrees. Test for
doneness with a toothpick. Serve warm topped with whipped cream.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1:1/2 tsp baking powder
5 tsp butter
3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup currants optional
Sift flour, sugar, and baking powder
together. Cut in the shortening. Mix soda and buttermilk, and add to first mixture, mixing
with a fork. Roll in three rounds and cut each round into four wedges, (see my Grannie's
recipe for another way to do this).
Bake on greased baking sheet at 400 degrees
for 20 minutes or until browned. And don't forget, they're pronounced "scone" as
in "gone" not "scone" as in "bone." Only the E------ call
Another little tea time treat Johnny in Dundee, aged 6,
Taste of Scotland's Girdle Scones
or Griddle if you're American
This is one of the first things we learned to
cook in our "Domestic Science" class in Senior Secondary - this means home ec at
High School in America.
4 cups self raising flour
2 tablespoon Lyle's Golden Syrup(
available at better supermarkets or British import shops in a beautiful green tin)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup approx milk or buttermilk
3 heaped tablespoon sugar
Mix flour, sugar, salt, and warmed syrup then
add the milk and beaten eggs until the mix forms a thick dropping consistency like thick
Heat the very lightly greased griddle and
drop by tablespoons in rounds, making sure they do not overlap and are even. Turn over
when little bubbles appear on top and bottom is golden brown. Cook both sides.
Serve warm or cold with butter, heather
honey, or jam. Makes about 24 scones.
This little verse is for Nan, or Adriana, my
14 year old now here in Phoenix, since "Nan" is a Scottish dimunitive for so
many different girls names:
"Lets off to bed,"
"Tarry a while,"
"Put on the pan,"
Says little Nan,
"Well sup before we go."
Charlotte's Granny's Scones
Granny sent this recipe along with the
clootie dumpling. Her scones were delicious, too. I remember these as a wonderful Sunday
When I was about 10 or 11, I couldn't stand
not having a dog any longer. So I asked a lady I met quite a ways up Hill Street if I
could take her Border Collie, Laddie, for walks on Sundays. She was an old lady, I think
as old as my Granny which would have made her about 67 (which now that I'm 51 doesn't seem
old at all) and she was more than glad to have me take Laddie out. So, for at least 2 or 3
years I would go get Laddie on Sundays and take him to the country for walks.
My mother would come with me. Oh, gosh, I
think I wore that dog out sometimes. I know he knew when he saw me what was coming. The
best walks we had were down to the Sidlaws or over to the Blackness. We would be gone for
We didn't have television until I was 16 and
we were moved to Downfield so our old house at 7 Hill Street could be torn down for
redevelopment. I remember taking Laddie back to his owners and thinking what a treat it
was to watch their TV. "I Love Lucy" seems to have been on a lot when I took
Then I'd walk down the street to my own
house, and often Granny would have made scones and they would be fresh from the oven. With
the appetite I had from those walks, there was nothing better than Granny's hot scones,
with real fresh unsalted creamery butter, and Robertson's raspberry jam!
Here are the scones, just as my
granny wrote it down for me:
1 lb self raising flour
1 good sized cup of sugar
3 oz butter or margarine
1 egg Milk
Put flour in bowl. Add sugar. Mix with
fingers lightly then cut up butter in small pieces. Drop in flour and mix lightly into
flour and sugar. Break egg in cup but add milk into egg. Pour lightly into bowl until
stiff mixture, not wet. Put some flour on your tins, not much, just sprinkle so as not to
burn. Put some flour on your board, not much. After you have made up your mixture with
milk, cut in small pieces. Put on trays in hot oven for 15-20 minutes. You reduce heat in
your oven after about 10 minutes. It's very easy. I've just tried to explain it out for
I've done some really dumb things in my life.
And one of them is writing over my Granny's hand written recipes and converting it into
American sizes, correcting her spelling and grammar, etc. I certainly wish I had never
done that. But at least I did keep her notes to me and I have some example of her
This reminds me of other notes my Granny
wrote that I didn't keep for a memory. My Granny loved the horses. No, not to pet or to
ride, but to bet on. Betting was illegal when I was growing up in Scotland. And so,
somebody had to run down to the bookie and hand them the money and the "lines"
(this was the names of the horses, the races they were in, and how much she was betting
and how she was betting they would be placed) and be able to do it without the bookie, the
better, or the person making the delivery getting nabbed by the local bobby. I got this
job fairly often.
Johnny Batchie (his name was Bachelor) was
our bookie. I remember my Granny giving me her lines, usually wrapped tightly around a
half crown or two (these were about the size of a silver dollar), and running down the
street to find Johnny and give him the bet.
My mother tells me that on occassion, for the
sake of looking good on paper, our local bobbies would apologetically go looking for
Johnny to take him in. My mother tells me that often Johnny would run up our back stairs
and hide out in our house. Mother says she and my Granny knew that I had seen Johnny come
in and they were always afraid that I would tell the bobbies that Johnny had come to
Speaking of bobbies, my Granny had a great
story about a poacher. Seems somebody in our family - my Granny, or her Granny, or Auntie
Chat - knew this poacher who was well known to everybody as a poacher, but he was so
skilfull that the bobbies could never nab him. Well, one day, he was coming home from
"work" with a bulging, wriggling sack on his back. The bobby saw him and asked
to see what was in his bag. So the poacher put the bag down, opened it up, and out and
away hopped this great beautiful hare. The poacher basically said at that point,
"There's nothing in my bag," and there he was off the hook. My Granny thought
that was a great story.
Which reminds me of a recipe I will not put
in this book -- I made Hassenpfeffer once for John, in Germany, because he liked it, he
asked me to, and his family history is German on both sides. Yes, indeed, it tasted
"just like chicken" but I felt like I was eating Thumper -- never made it again,
and never will, not even for my best lad since John died, Angus my Skye terrier!