My parents recently came up to Edinburgh. It was lovely having them to stay, we explored lots of different parts of the city together. Dad had to leave as planned, but we managed to persuade Mum to stay on a few more days. She and I decided to go to North Berwick on the Saturday, when good weather was forecast. North Berwick is a lovely little town on the coast, a sea side town, about thirty minutes away. We got a late morning train with my little one. The train pulled into the station and the sun shown down on us as we emerged from the train. We walked along the streets to the town centre. Little sailing boats were charging up and down the coast, with little white waves breaking beside the dinghies.
We were hungry but it wasn’t yet lunch time. We needed a coffee and something sweet. We stopped at a large café bar and were helped to a table by a friendly waitress. Mum ordered coffee and shortbread. I usually overlook shortbread, not finding it too exciting. This shortbread however was perfect. It was short, crumbly, sweet and with the coffee kept the wolf from the door until lunchtime.
We wondered along the high street enjoying the bustle and found a great butchers which meant we were sorted for supper that evening. Lunchtime drew near and we went and sat in a large gardens to eat our sandwiches. Then we found some swings and a slide and watched little one smile his gorgeous toothy smile as he swung on the swings and ploughed down the slide. Hours later we got home tired, but happy.
The day was full of warm memories, including the shortbread. Once Mum had boarded another train, this time to take her home, I got back to the kitchen to find a recipe for my own shortbreads. These are just like the ones we enjoyed in North Berwick but they are topped with whole nuts and a little bit of salt. Easy to make and so good to eat with your morning coffee when you have a wolf that needs to be kept at bay.
Cashew and hazelnut shortbread
2 oz / 50 g butter
2 oz / 50 g caster sugar
1 ½ oz / 40 g plain flour
1 ½ oz / 40 g ground hazelnuts
A large pinch of salt
2 oz / 50 g whole hazelnuts
2 oz / 50 g whole cashews
Makes 12 shortbread
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / 350°F / Gas mark 4.
2. Soften the butter in a medium mixing bowl with the back of a wooden spoon.
3. Beat in the caster sugar.
4. Sift the flour into the mixing bowl. Add the ground hazelnuts and pinch of salt and stir to combine the mixture.
5. Dust a board with caster sugar.
6. Pick the dough up with your hands bringing it together into a lump. Put it on the board and roll it out to about 3 mm / 1/8 “.
7. Using a 48 mm / 1 7/8 ” cutter cut out discs of dough.
8. Lay the discs on a baking sheet. They will expand during cooking so space them out. Half the whole nuts and press them into the top of the shortbread. Sprinkle the nuts with a little salt.
9. Put into the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes until lightly browned.
10. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with caster sugar. Leave to cool a little and harden on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Continue cooling on a cooling rack and then store in an air tight container. They will last in the container for three to four days.
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