What better way to celebrate the release of Heart of a Highlander (A Scottish Short Story) than with authentic Scottish shortbread?
Shortbread, a kind of cookie-biscuit, is said to have originated in Scotland as early as the 12th century, and the first printed recipe is attributed to a Mrs. McLintock in the early 1700s.
In general, the recipe is said to be one part sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flower.
I’m a huge fan of shortbread and when I spy Walkers Shortbread, I’ve been known to grab two or three because I never know when I’ll come across those melt-in-your-mouth wafers again.
Though Walker’s Shortbread comes in several fancy shapes, shortbread typically comes in three: little round flats, finger type biscuits, or a large circle that is cut into triangles called petticoat tails, thought to have been thus named by Mary Queen of Scots in the 16th century.
This is my grandmother’s recipe. She wasn’t Scot’s but Grandpa was.
Grandma Cameron’s Scottish Shortbread Cookies
My grandmother made these shortbread cookies, and my understanding is the recipe was actually my Great-Grandmother Cameron’s. She immigrated to the United States from Nova Scotia.
Shortbread cookies are my all-time favorite cookies, especially with a cup of tea. I frequently have my characters nibbling shortbread biscuits too.
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (use high quality butter)
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F with the rack in the center of the oven.
Combine flour and salt in a bowl using a whisk. Set aside. Beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and mix until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Stir in the flour. Form the dough into a flattened ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for ½ hour or until firm. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface until ¼ inch thick. Using a floured cookie cutter, cut into shapes. Gently place cutouts on parchment-lined baking sheets and return to the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. This helps the cookies retain their shape.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies should be very lightly browned on the edges. Cool on a wire rack.
Store in an airtight container for one week or freeze. Cookies can be eaten plain, dipped in chocolate and sprinkles, or decorated with icing.
I’m so tickled to be releasing Heart of a Highlander, a Scottish short story inspired by Highlander’s Hope (Award-winning Castle Brides Series).
When Giselle McTavish left France as the wife of a Scottish laird, she never expected to be widowed two years later and left with a toddler to raise. Filled with animosity toward Highlander, Hugh Ferguson—the man she holds responsible for her husband’s drowning, and a man she must see every day because he, too, lives at Craiglocky Keep—she’s determined her son, the next laird, will be raised in Scotland, nonetheless. Her struggles to overcome loneliness and homesickness are compounded as it becomes more difficult to fight the warm feelings Hugh now stirs in her.
Hugh has loved Giselle almost from the moment he laid eyes on the petite Frenchwoman. But as the wife, and then the widow of his dearest friend, he has refused to act on his feelings. He blames himself for his friend’s death. Guilt as well as the belief Giselle hates him, keeps Hugh’s lips firmly closed and his heart sealed. That all changes one providential Valentine’s Day when he risks everything by using Scottish folklore and legend to at last proclaims his love.
Here’s a sneak Peek!
Giselle started and spun around, her cloak swirling about her ankles. Her pulse raced on tense little feet.
A roguish grin on his handsome face, Hugh rested a broad shoulder against one of the rock pillars supporting the gate.
Her missing glove dangled from his fingertips.
“You startled me, Hugh.”
Hand at her throat, Giselle drank him in. Her irregular heartbeat couldn’t be blamed solely on surprise. Mon Dieu, no man should be so disturbingly attractive. Mortal females simply didn’t have the ability to resist such chiseled, male perfection.
* * *
Hugh straightened and swung the gate open for Giselle and Ewan. The metal scraped and creaked, loudly protesting the cold. He smiled as she encouraged her son to hurry in his direction.
Laughing, Ewan wove his way amongst the headstones, his small legs churning as he dashed to the gate.
Hugh had seen the quiet prayer she whispered over Liam’s grave. Saw her tears as well, devil it. What would it be like to have a woman love him with such devotion?
Nae, what would it be like to have Giselle adore him?
Are you a fan of shortbread? Have you ever made it?