I got this recipe in 1980 from Anne at a delightful Bed & Breakfast Inn in Scotland. I can’t recall her last name or the Inn’s name, but I’ve never forgotten her melt-in-the-mouth shortbread. She was gracious to share the recipe. I’ve converted it to standard US measurements and tweaked it a wee bit.
Makes approx. 4 ½ dozen buttery, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread squares.
- 1 cup rice flour
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 oz (2 sticks) butter (don’t substitute margarine)
- 3/4 cup superfine (castor) sugar (grind granulated sugar in a food processor to a fineness between granulated and powdered)
- 2 egg yolks (save whites, covered in refrigerator for other recipes
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tsp milk
- 2 Tbsp dried orange zest* (rub between fingers to break into fine pieces), or use fresh grated orange zest
Cut butter into small cubes and place in bowl of stand mixer or large bowl.
Sift together flours and salt, then cut into butter on low (can be done with a pastry cutter), until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add sugar until mixed, then gradually add egg yolks and milk. Add orange zest last.
Knead dough until pliable. Press into greased jellyroll pan or 9X13 pan or two 9” pie pans.* Press in with thumbs until soft and even. Prick the top with a fork (pressing tines lightly into top). Score top with a butter knife for cutting into small squares, diamonds, or wedges if using pie pans. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake for 45-60 minutes, depending on thickness. (Can add topping during last half hour of baking, or sprinkle with superfine sugar when cooled.)
*Flattened or rolled dough, 1/4th to 1/2″ thick, can be cut with cookie cutters or hand shaped and baked on cookie sheets for 20-25 minutes, depending how thick.
*to make orange zest, wash an orange, then grate the outer skin (don’t get the white pulp, which is bitter). Use a zester or a small grater. Let grated skin dry until crisp and easily crushed. I make a lot and store in a small jar. It keeps well when dried and adds to everything, from chicken or fish to breads to granola.
- 1 egg yolk, beaten.
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
- 2 tsp fine orange zest (optional)
Mix together and spread on top of half-baked shortbread. Finish baking. Alternately, leave off topping and sprinkle with powdered sugar when cooled.
Adapted from recipe by Anne at an Ayrshire, Scotland Bed and Breakfast Inn, 1980, by Sunni Jeffers.