The Most Beautiful Shortbread Cookies, Courtesy of Martha
Actually, we're calling them biscuits this week.
The next stop on the "Martha Bakes" global cookie tour is Great Britain, which means we're going to starting using the proper parlance and call them biscuits. Each biscuit can be made days in advance and is just the thing for afternoon tea. All three cookies would also be perfect for that royal wedding viewing party on your calendar (just us??!). Get a sneak peek at the recipes below, and be sure to tune in this weekend.
The secret to crisp, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread? Plenty of high-quality salted butter and a touch of rice flour in addition to the all-purpose. Martha uses a ceramic mold to get that beautifully decorated top. Wondering where the name comes from? The "short" refers to its crumbly texture due to the high proportion of fat to flour, and the "bread" dates back to medieval times when Scottish bakers classified their sweet, yeasted biscuits as bread to avoid paying taxes.
CELTIC KNOT COOKIES
Anise and caraway seeds, plus vanilla, give these butter cookies a wonderful aromatic flavor, but it's the intricate design that will get everyone's attention. The dough is rolled into a trefoil and a circle, then merged to create the symbol known as the Celtic knot. The biscuits are also sometimes called jumbles, which is derived from the Latin word "gemmel," meaning "twin" and refers to the double intertwined rings.
Cookies meet scones in these unique Welsh treats that are cooked on a griddle like a pancake. They were traditionally cooked over a hot bakestone, which is why they also go by the name Welsh bakestones. Martha's version is flavored with warm spices including cinnamon and nutmeg and chock-full of dried currants and candied citrus peel. Sturdy enough to be eaten out of hand, they can be served plain, sprinkled with sugar, spread with butter, or gilded with jam.
"Martha Bakes" season 9 airs on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings).