Wartime Scotch Shortbread


scotchshortbread1940

Hurricane Bill is on his way and last night I couldn’t sleep, so instead, at 2 am, I got up, went to the kitchen and made some ‘Wartime Scotch Shortbread’..

The flour supplied to the public in the 1940’s, was a minimum of 85% wholewheat flour made from homegrown wheat (UK). It was said to have an unpopular grey appearance but I guess that really was all that was available and all recipes that called for flour would have been made out of this..

Wartime Scotch Shortbread

Melt 4 oz margarine, add 8 oz plain flour and 2 oz sugar, mix well and knead until the mixture bins together. If it is a little dry crumble it again and add a splash of milk and re knead. Put in an ungreased baking tin and press mixture down firmly so it is about 1/2 inch thick. Prick the surface and then cut into 10-12 portions.

Bake in centre of moderate oven for 30 + minutes.

Remove, sprinkle lightly with sugar

Serve.

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24 thoughts on “Wartime Scotch Shortbread

  1. Abousloutley Srumptious, just finished making them and they were delishous next time I make a dessert I will look in my cook book cause i wrote it down πŸ˜€ ;3 Thanks ;3

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  2. I was wondering about desserts here thinking that they didn’t have much sugar in the war and wondered if there would have been some to reflect this , without sugar.

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    • They did use saccharin but it wasn’t the best tasting and they did cut down the amount of sugar they used substituting some sugar some grated vegetables with a high sugar content. Most of my recipes on my blog are recreated from Ministry of Food wartime pamphlets etc…I will try and source some more recipes using substitutes. C x

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      • I just saw one of the MOF’s pamphlets where they suggest cutting the sugar ration with ground up saccharrin to make it go further.

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  3. I thought it was really cool to make it and it tasted really nice after. We made a mini shortbread and they are made for my daughters class and teacher because her topic is World War 2.πŸ˜‚πŸͺπŸͺ

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  4. Real Scottish shortbread would only use unsalted butter, never margarine as it is too greasy & would ruin the texture. Here is a classic recipe for those who are interested.
    Ingredients:
    7 oz (175g) plain white flour
    1 oz (25g) fine semolina
    4 oz (100g) cold grated unsalted butter
    2 oz (50g) caster sugar
    Method:
    Mix the first 2 ingredients together, rub the butter in to make a crumb then stir in the sugar.
    This mixture makes 350g of dough which will make 12 biscuits or 1 large farl (round) of petticoat tails (wedges).
    For a farl press the mixture into a tin or into a round on a tray & mark into wedges, prick the surface to prevent it from puffing up too much (you can sprinkle this lightly with caster sugar or ground hazelnuts now) & bake at 180c/350F for about 25-30 minutes or till just golden. Allow to rest until completely cold as it is very fragile whilst warm.
    For individual biscuits either make equal sized balls, bars or roll out & cut into rounds then bake at 160c/325F for about 20 minutes or till just golden. Allow to rest until completely cold they are very fragile whilst warm.

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    • You can substitute ground rice for the semolina. Also can substitute an ounce for some of the flour in a crumble topping for a crisper crumb.

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      • Re crumble topping ideas: have you tried mixing in oats, coconut, ground hazelnuts, chopped walnuts, rice flakes or rye flakes ?, all equally good. I just use whatever I can find in the cupboard. Last week I had some cooked barley (unsalted, I eat barley, rye flakes or whole oats in place of potatoes, I’m on a diabetic eating plan) left over so used it in savoury crumble topping, it was a lovely texture and taste – another experiment that worked out well. I can always feed not so good experiments to my chickens so I don’t waste anything.

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  5. Fab tasting quick recipe, thank you for sharing πŸ™‚ Ideal for a sweet fix when you are skint at the end of the week/month as you’ve probs got the ingredients in your cupboard.

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  6. If you liked the shortbread try some of the steam puddings at the end of the carrot and sultana pudding pages. It’s a great way to use up stale bread, put together really fast and can be made either sweet or savoury – enjoy !

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  7. I’m going to make the Blackberry Shortbread to take to the Baking Club I belong. We are
    having a Remembrance themed evening and wearing 40’s style clothes. Should be a good evening.

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  8. Try this basic biscuit recipe with your own ideas of flavour variations.
    Basic Biscuit Dough
    Ingredients:
    250g room temperature salted butter
    150g caster sugar (you can use less)
    ΒΌ tsp vanilla extract
    260g plain or wholemeal flour, sifted
    Β½ tsp baking powder
    Additions*
    Method:
    Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy then beat in the vanilla. Work the flour into the butter mixture (then work in any additions* now) then shape into a sausage, wrap and chill. Slice thinly, lay on a prepared lined baking sheet, leaving room to spread and bake at 180Β°c for about 12-14 minutes. – it depends how this they are and how crisp you want them. Cool and eat as they are or sandwich in pairs then dip into melted chocolate for a decadent treat.
    Additions*: use sparingly as variations on a theme, here are some ideas
    Chocolate (cocoa powder) and cherry (tiny bits)
    Coffee (powder) and walnuts (finely chopped)
    Chocolate (cocoa powder) and peanuts (finely chopped)
    Coconut (desiccated) and cherry (tiny bits)

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