If we’re talkin’ Scottish favourites, I’ll take the shortbread over the haggis. In my humble opinion, shortbread may be Scotland’s greatest contribution to civilisation. After a little google-time regarding its buttery birth, I discovered that shortbread might be so-called for a couple of reasons; first of all, it requires a lot of shortening, and it also refers to the shortness or crispness of the finished biscuit. Interestingly, the name was defended by Scottish bakers back in the day because they did not want to pay a government tax on biscuits. Thus, shortbread is not classified as a biscuit. Who knew — the most biscuit-y of biscuits is not a biscuit at all, technically.
For this recipe, I was inspired by a baking feature by Claire Ptak of Violet Bakery on The Guardian website. She creates beautiful-looking cakes with interesting marriages of flavours, and being a buckwheat lover, I was interested in the idea of incorporating it into shortbread. I changed the recipe around a little to make it sugar-free and less calorie-dense, but all the authentic buttery flavour and crunch of shortbread is most certainly present. Oh, and I added dark chocolate. That’s always a good call.
Like I said, I’m big on buckwheat; I love the earthy, nutty flavour, and it goes so well with butter. Like shortbread’s being not a bread at all, buckwheat is not a kind of wheat, or a grain at all for that matter. Rather, it is a seed from a plant related to rhubarb and sorrel. It is gluten-free, and contains more essential nutrients than grains do. It also contains fibre, tannins, and antioxidants.
Makes about 12 pieces
- 70g walnuts or almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
- 20g dark chocolate, chopped into little chunks (I used 85% Green & Black’s)
- 150g buckwheat flour
- 150g butter, cold and cut into 1cm cubes
- 50g erythritol/xylitol (or sugar)
- 100g Vitafiber powder (or 50g more sugar)
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 free range egg yolks
- A sprinkle of coconut or demerara sugar (optional)
- Line a tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 170C.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the nuts, flour, sweetener, salt, and butter. Mix well. I used my food processor.
- Add the egg yolks and mix just until the dough starts to come together.
- Press the dough into the prepared tin. Stud with some chocolate chips if desired. Sprinkle with coconut sugar (optional) and salt. Bake for 15‑20 minutes, or until it is just starting to turn golden.
- Remove from the oven. While the shortbread is still warm, use a sharp knife to gently cut it into pieces. Allow to cool completely before removing from the tin.