I have two extremely fond memories of shortbread cookies. The weird thing is neither of them involve Christmas or homemade baking. In my previous life, after an 18 hour flight to Hong Kong I would arrive at my hotel exhausted and hungry. Every trip I was always pleased to find a package of Walkers Shortbread cookies in my room’s mini bar. The Shangri-la Hotel in Hong Kong after check-in would always bring Jasmine tea in a basket directly to guests rooms. I would comfortably settle into my new surroundings with my tea and Walkers shortbread. This became a much looked forward to tradition for me every time I arrived in Hong Kong.
My second shortbread memory also involves Walkers. Our family had the good fortune of traveling to Scotland this past summer- the birthplace of both scotch and shortbread. Our tourist destination one day was a cooperage for barrel making and the famous Glenfiddich Distillery (my hubby of Scottish descent was so excited!), but on our beautiful winding way we stumbled upon Walkers Head Office and factory outlet. OMG – I was in shortbread heaven! Needless to say, we loaded up our right-sided steering wheel car with enough Scottish delight for the rest of our Highland adventures.
I have sampled several homemade shortbread cookies made by friends, myself, or from bakeries, but I have not found one to ever match Walkers for taste. It is the only boxed cookie I find better tasting than any homemade version. Now that I am in Baking & Pastry school such a bold claim could be grounds for an “F” on my next assignment. Instead, I was quite pleased to receive a shortbread recipe from our class Chef who assured me it was amazing. I was doubly excited to discover the below ingredients are identical to those used in making Walkers Shortbread.
18 large cookies (from mould) 6 dozen small cut-out cookies
2 pounds unsalted softened butter
2 pounds 4oz all purpose flour (sifted)
10 1/2 oz icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
Sift flour with salt and add to butter mixture
Stir flour into butter mixture with wooden spoon until firm dough stage
Separate dough into 2 balls and flatten and wrap with plastic wrap
Place in fridge until firm- 30min to an hour
Pre-heat oven to 325
I choose to use the dough two way
1) Mould – spray with baking spray and press dough into mould
Bake for 25-30 min until just lightly golden
cut cookies when slightly warm – as easier to cut this way
cool on wire rack
I was not happy with how these turned out so I decided maybe some decorating was needed.
1 cup melted chocolate wafers
1 cup crushed candy-cane (I purchased at the bulk food store)
once cookies are completely cool – melt chocolate wafers in microwave or double boiler
dip the bottom of cookie and lower side with chocolate
immediately dip sides into crushed candy-cane
2) cookie cutter Roll dough on lightly floured(use bread flour) surface
I added candy holly for festive decoration (found at bulk food store) – add PRIOR to baking
bake for 15-18min until bottom of cookie is just slightly golden
OK here is my honest critique of the Chef’s above shortbread recipe compared to Walkers. The mould cookies were a huge disappointment. I think the cookies are just too big and thick, so they came out a bit over-cooked on the top and crumbly. I would not recommend using this recipe if you want to use a shortbread mould. BUT, the cut-out cookies were amazing with a smooth buttery taste that had the perfect amount of flakiness. I have to say, these were the closest things yet to Walkers masterfully delicious shortbread cookies.
NOTE: both dough and baked cookies freeze extremely well/ follow past Spritz cookie post for freezing tips
- Nutty Shortbread Cookie Recipe (granniesrecipebox.wordpress.com)