Gotcha! I bet you would be curious to know what has Couscous, the typical fare of arabic main dish, got to do with Scottish shortbread? Another weird food fusion across two continents?
If you read this blog long enough, you would know Couscous, my darling daughter whom we nicknamed just that, for our love of Couscous. Growing steadily, naughtier by the day and the reason for my mother's day celebration today! Couscous loves cookies, and given her recent difficult phase with main meals, I try to bake various, different types of healthy cookies to keep her appetite going and to maintain her on 50th growth centile at the very least!
When she showed interest in kitchen-play recently, I thought it was time to indulge her in real dough! After all that is the best way to encourage toddlers to eat..and the trick worked wonders! It was also my bonding time with her over the basic staples of flours, butter and sugar, rubbed gently with the tips of fingers to create the beautiful crumbs that would soon resemble cookie dough and bake to perfection,just like the old fashioned way.
Whilst I am not a big fan of shortbread, I seem to make these cookies more often than not, years ago for my family members who love the british classic, and now as a go-to whenever I feel like baking something simple, yet indulgent. I know there are so many ways of making shortbread..the various shapes of petticoat tails, fingers or wedges and the various add-ons of either rice flour or corn starch..somehow I keep going back to an old recipe from a Scottish leaflet that I got many years ago from a Tourist centre, believe it or not. Very unassuming, yet always turned out buttery delicious! This time round, I added some toasted pecans for extra crunch and nuttier taste.
So this recipe is for you. All the mothers out there, to celebrate the days or years of motherhood that comes with joy and tears..and to indulge once in a while for good food without the care for the growing hips, hands-on for the motherly bonding time in kitchen and something simple enough to be your child's repertoire in no time at all.
Happy Mother's Day;-)
Old-Fashioned Scottish Pecan Shortbread..using hands!
120g cold butter, unsalted
60 g rice flour
150g plain flour
70g castor sugar
50g coarsely chopped pecan (toasted lightly)
1/2 tsp salt
a few teaspoon of demerara sugar for dusting
1. In a large bowl, sift the plain flour, rice flour, salt and castor sugar together.
2. Grate the cold butter into the flour mixture and using your fingertips, mix the ingredients well until fine crumbs are formed.
3. Add in the chopped pecan and mix more vigourously until a log of dough is formed. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight, covered in clingfilm.
4. Preheat the oven at 170C. Take out the dough from the fridge, and using sharp knife cut a disc of 1 inch thickness and place the cookie on a silpat or baking paper. Bake the shortbread cookies for around 18-20 mins, or until the cookies turn golden.
5. Once out from the oven, sprinkle the demerara sugar on top of the cookies. Let the cookies cool before storing them in airtight cookie jar.