For more than 30 years a pink slip of paper has traveled with me through moves to 2 countries, 3 apartments and 3 homes. It reappears every year right about now when the holiday baking frenzy begins. The pink slip is handwritten by a lovely woman of Scottish heritage who was a patient of mine in Toronto long ago.
At every appointment, without fail and much to my delight, Edna would bring me the most delectable shortbread cookies. Tis was not any old recipe but Queen Elizabeth II’s shortbread recipe! It is the shortbread made at Balmoral Castle as well as at all of the Queen’s residences.
Having just returned from a trip to Scotland I felt inspired to get out my treasured pink slip, find my inner Scottish diva and finally make this shortbread. Why did it take me so long? The secret ingredient was rice flour, something I never had on hand. Today prince charming hit the local Whole Foods where they had several brands of rice flour and off I was up to my elbows in flour, baking the Queen’s favorite cookies.
Scottish Shortbread Fingers
(As made at Balmoral Castle, Buckingham Palace, Sandringham and Windsor Castle, homes of Queen Elizabeth II)
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup rice flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 lb cold butter
Directions: Preheat oven to 325 F. Keeping ingredients as cool as possible, sift the 2 flours, mix in sugar and quickly cut in butter until the mixture is the consistency of short crust pastry. Roll out or press into the shape of a square. Mark into fingers with a knife. Prick all over with a fork. Place on a lined baking sheet. Bake about an hour, reducing heat to 300F once the shortbread begins to turn golden. Cool on wire rack then cut into fingers. Store in an airtight tin for up to 4 days.
I think Edna would approve! Now, if only I could get invited to tea at Balmoral Castle!