It’s wonderful to know the national flower of a country. In Malaysia it is the beautiful, red Hibiscus. Here in Scotland, the national flower is the beautiful, prickly purple Thistle flower. The Thistles in the picture above have not bloomed yet. When they bloom, they have beautiful purple red crowns on top. The Thistle is actually a weed that grows wildly all over the lowlands and the highlands of Scotland. It is prickly all over as you can see. But it’s a very beautiful flower. I think it represents toughness and the ability to protect itself.
When I first landed in Scotland, one of the first food that I was introduced was the Scottish shortbread. At first sight, it looks like any other butter cookies to me. But my first bite made me realise it’s different. It had a beautiful buttery fragrance and a melt-in-the mouth feel. I fell in love with it immediately.
I was looking through my drawer for something the other day when I found my thistle mould! How excited I was! I bought that a short while after I came but have never used it. I had actually forgotten about it. Am I alone? I know I’m not. Well, I know that I still have a lot of kitchen gadgets that I bought but still sitting somewhere…..brand new. Looks like it’s time for a real treasure hunt! I’m going to have fun…hehe.
I actually had a great time using my thistle mould to make these shortbread. It was utter excitement when I could get that flower pattern out onto the dough. The mould was big, slightly bigger than my hand opened wide. So, knocking the dough out was not easy. It requires a lot of tender loving care! But it was utter joy and satisfaction to see the end result.
Here is my special Scottish Shortbread, Scotland Thistle Flower Shortbread, recipe:
1/2C castor sugar
1/4C rice flour
2 &1/4C plain flour
Put the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and beat until light and creamy.
Sieve the rice flour and plain flour into the butter mixture. Mix to a dough. Roll it out to about 1/2cm thickness.
Use cutters to cut out into preferred shapes. Here, I used the thistle flower mould. I flour the mould first, then I cut out a piece of dough bigger than the mould and put over it. Then I press the dough gently into the mould. After it’s done, I knocked it out carefully, straight on to the baking paper that lines the tin, taking care not to spoil or break the shape. There it goes….yeah! See how beautiful it is! I actually sat there admiring it for quite a while before putting into the oven to bake. I just couldn’t believe that I managed to get that big flower dough onto the tray in one piece.
Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes or until light golden. Let it cool before lifting it up with a wide spatula.
This Thistle Flower Shortbread is definitely one big shortbread that needs to be shared. But then, it’s also one that I would love to enjoy looking and admiring rather than eating it. It would also make a wonderful gift. I gave one to a friend and she was very happy to have it. I didn’t know how to wrap it so I gave it to her together with my plate! Next time I will put it on a round cake base and then wrap it up nicely as a gift so that I don’t have to keep giving away my plates. Otherwise pretty soon I will have no plates left in the house for food!!!
Have you tried making shortbread? What is your favourite shortbread? Please share, add and comment in the comment box below.
Quote of the day……
“Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem a turned it into an opportunity.”