My absolute favorite cookies are shortbread cookies. You can put them up against warm chocolate chip cookies, layered bars or an ooey-gooey, chewy cookie of your choice. For me, it will always come down to the often overlooked, Simple Scottish Shortbread Cookies. It would be my island cookie (you know the game…on an island……only get one cookie for the rest of your life……)?! Anybody?
Simple Scottish Shortbread Cookies are made with basic pantry items. I’m willing to bet you can make this right now!! Yes you can!!!
Shortbread cookies come in a few different makes and models. A shortbread cookie consists of 4 basic ingredients; flour, butter, sugar and salt. These make a crumbly, lightly flavored version of the shortbread. The Scottish Shortbread Cookies also have a leavening agent in the batter, like baking soda or baking powder. The addition of this, typically produces a crispier, slightly crunchier cookie. Don’t get me wrong, I love all shortbread cookies, Scottish or otherwise, but this recipe is one my mom made while I was growing up, so the taste and texture is the one I love most.
When I was in nursing school a couple decades ago, we were tasked with a project to befriend an elderly person and spend some time with them doing things they loved. I was lucky enough to be raised with many grandparents and great grandparents and I adored them. So, “oldsters” as I call them, have always been amongst my favorites. Anyway, there was an elderly lady who lived up the street, whom I would wave to when she was out in her garden, but had never met.
Simple Scottish Shortbread Cookies are light with a delicate, buttery flavor. They are perfect with a side of jam and a cup of tea. Fabulous!!
So, following the assignment directions, the next day when I saw her in her garden, I stopped and said hello. She was happy to chat and eager to have me come by the next day for tea and a ‘get to know ya’. After hearing about her life, loves and hobbies, one of the things we had in common was, we both loved baking. We set up a date to make cookies in the near future and low and behold, the recipe I brought to her house, was the same recipe she had sitting out on her counter!
Well, we made the Scottish Shortbread Cookies as she told me about her husband and how he lovingly played the violin for her while she worked in the garden. I told her about my family and my goals as a young nurse and she was eager with many questions about what that looked like. When the cookies cooled, she brought out a short, Mason jar with her homemade jam and her cute little spoons. She made us some tea and we enjoyed our time together on her porch talking about womanhood.
The goal of the assignment, was to get to know an older person and observe the ways they had to adjust to the world based on the physical, mental and emotional states of their advanced age. To find out who they were when they were young and what happened in their lives to bring them to this place when we met them. It was a fantastic assignment. I was honored to hear stories from a simpler time when getting together to cook and bake was a treat, then sitting on the porch where it was cooler, “just visitin” was a blessing.
Maple Pecan and Bacon Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar more for rolling out dough
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp maple extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 4-6 slices bacon, chopped small and fried until crisp set aside to sprinkle on frosted cookies
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans set aside to sprinkle on frosted cookies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the butter into a bowl or use a stand mixer and mix it well until it has been creamed or smooth.
- Add the sugar, mix again. Then add the flour, salt, baking powder, vanilla extract, maple extract and chopped pecans, mix until well incorporated.
- This dough will be thick and very easy to handle.
- I sprinkle powdered sugar out on the board I roll the dough, to prevent sticking since this is a cookie. Roll dough flat, to about 1/4" in thickness and either cut into pieces with a knife or use a cookie cutter to cut into shapes. Place cookies on baking pan and place in the oven.
- Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the edges are just very lightly golden. Let sit on the baking pan for a few minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire, cooling rack to complete their cooling.
- In a medium bowl, add the powdered sugar, maple syrup and melted butter together and stir until well incorporated.
- Dip the cooled cookies into the frosting, coating one side. Lay the coated cookies on their back to allow the excess frosting to drip off. While the frosting is still wet, sprinkle with the crispy bacon pieces and chopped pecans.
So, in honor of my elderly friend, I made these Simple Scottish Shortbread Cookies, then had myself a “sit down” and ate my cookies with a side of jam and a cup of tea, while listening to violin music on my cell phone. Not the same, but it took me down memory lane, which is one of the blessings of food. It not only feeds the belly, and fuels the body, but it also stirs memories. Enjoy friends!!
Simple Scottish Shortbread Cookies are my all-time favorite cookie. Have you ever tried making homemade shortbread cookies?