This week is St Andrew’s Day, celebrating Scotland’s patron saint, and, for me, the start of festive baking! I always begin my Christmas bakes with a seasonal shortbread recipe – you can see more in the Everything Looks Rosie archive here. This year I was inspired by our trip to the Hermitage in Highland Perthshire where I foraged Douglas Fir pine needles and made them into a fir sugar ready for Winter baking. A few Christmases ago I made chocolate pine pots which were delicious, and here the fir sugar adds a subtle zesty note to cut through the buttery shortbread. To make them, you will need:
150g plain flour
50g Douglas Fir sugar (see below) plus more for dusting.
I made more Douglas Fir sugar than I needed: it’s not an exact science but I used 250g of sugar and a handful Douglas Fir needles, whizzed together in a blender. Pour through a sieve and store in an airtight jar. Alternatively you could use 1 vanilla pod and follow the same process.
Preheat the oven to Gas 4/ 180C/ Fan 160C. Place the flour and butter in a bowl and rub together to form crumbs.
Add the Douglas Fir sugar and mix to form a dough.
Chill for half an hour then roll out the dough. Using a star-shaped cutter, cut out stars and place on a baking tray lined with nonstick baking paper.
Bake for 8-10 minutes until just golden. Sprinkle with Douglas Fir sugar while still warm. Leave to cool and firm up.
The shortbread will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container.
Recipe adapted from this one for vanilla shortbread stars.