Category Archives: Dessert

Eat Me (or, How One Woman Overcomes her Racial Handicap and Prepares Damn Tasty Food from Around the World)

Strictly for High Rollers – Millionaire’s Shortbread
by Clare Nisbet

Shortbread crumbs mixed and ready for pressing The perfect Scottish trifecta - shortbread, caramel, chocolate

It’s a gloomy Monday morning at the downtown headquarters of OSB and the fact that it is a holiday inspired me to write about some serious Scottish dessert – Millionaire’s Shortbread. Besides, the baseball card series is getting old for me and it’s time to inject some good, old-fashioned variety back into this blog. I hope the NWTVS and Ace follow shortly. In my next blog I will take a much needed departure from dessert and Scotland but in the spirit of dusting off the cobwebs at OSB headquarters I am going to stick with what I know and love for one more week. Besides, is it just me or is it enough with the baseball cards already?!

Millionaire’s Shortbread is NOT for the faint of heart. It’s actually likely to push those weak of heart over the cardiac arrest edge. It is a traditional Scottish treat that I used to love as a child – likely contributing to both my chub and my janky teeth. I recently made it for a bunch of Americans at our annual Festivus celebration as a sort of sociological experiment and they couldn’t get enough. It’s true that most Scottish food is based on a “survival of the fittest” mentality and ideal for only those blessed with an iron gut. That being said, if you are tough enough – these are some of the best mouthfuls you’ll ever experience.

This shortbread is a perfect combination of traditional shortbread, homemade caramel, and chocolate. It’s also a great dessert because it’s got a couple of tricky elements that are good for practicing. You can perfect your shortbread and caramel techniques and your patience in the kitchen and what results is to-die-for good.

Here are the three stages for perfect Millionaire’s Shortbread. The best tip I can give you is patience – make sure that the recipe is cooled completely after each layer is completed.

Shortbread

6oz butter6oz granulated sugar
8oz plain flour
2 oz corn flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat over to 350. Grease and flour a 12 inch baking tin (the deeper, the better). Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, corn flour, and baking powder. Gradually beat this into the butter and sugar mixture until you have beautiful shortbread crumbs (see photo for example). Spread the mixture into the baking tin and press to create shortbread (with clean fingers is the most old school, and most effective method). Bake shortbread for 20 minutes and cool completely while you prepare the caramel.

Caramel

6oz sugar
6 oz butter
I can (15 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbs golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients except the vanilla into a saucepaul. Over very low heat stir until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved (this can take several minutes – just hum and stir, hum and stir). Then bring mixture to a gentle boil and boil for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly. Take the mixture of the heat, let cool for 1 minute then stir in the vanilla. Stir final mixture for 2 more minutes and then pour over the shortbread. Place this in the refrigerator until caramel hardens completely.

Chocolate

All you need is your favorite chocolate. In the spirit of Scotland I use Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and Dark Chocolate.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler over hot water. A touch of butter gives the chocolate a beautiful sheen. Pour it over caramel when it is completely hardened. When the three-layered goodness is completely cooled, cut into squares and enjoy. Guaranteed mad props.

Eat Me (or, One Woman Overcomes her Racial Handicap and Prepares Damn Tasty Food from Around the World)

Scottish Rocks
by Clare Nisbet

Rock Cakes

Now that I am nestled comfortably back in the chair at the Goleta desk of One Sorry Blog, I felt I should get to cooking and back to my Scottish roots. I am currently without permanent digs and therefore enjoying the privilege of using Mary Nisbet’s kitchen; rivaled only by that of Martha Stewart. Needing a last minute contribution to a baby shower this weekend, I turned to a Scottish favorite – Rock Cakes.

These little Scottish cakes are like scones without the fuss. You can almost always make them with ingredients you already have in the cupboard, they are supposed to look bumpy and lumpy so you don’t need pastry skills, and they bake in 20 minutes with as little as 10 minutes prep time. Traditional recipes use raisins but for the holidays I mixed in cranberries, cherries, and other dried fruit. They are always best right out of the oven and a hit. Here is a recipe to get started but, as always, the recipe is better the more you add your own personal touches.

Rock Cakes

1 stick (8oz) butter
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp all spice
Rind of half a lemon (or orange, lime, etc.)
8oz chopped dried fruits
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
Milk to add if necessary

To prepare combine the butter, flour, and baking powder in a mixer until you make a mixture with the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add the dried fruit, sugar, fruit rind (optional), all spice, and mix thoroughly. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly until your mixture hardens into a doughball. If needed, add a pinch of milk for consistency.

Grab of crude balls of dough (the lumpier and more rock-like the better!) and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Watch the little suckers because they get overcooked very quickly.

Hope they help your holiday party. Stay tuned for more recipes from Martha’s… I mean Mary’s kitchen.

Eat Me (or, One Woman Overcomes her Racial Handicap and Prepares Damn Tasty Food from Around the World)

Everything’s better upside-down
By Clare Nisbet

Homemade upside-down cake - mmmmmmmm

Time for sweet treats, people! Sweet, sugary treat recipes are fun for those of us who might not be able to filet a salmon or poach an egg but do get a real kick out of wearing flour-coated aprons and serving warm cookies to visitors and friends. Underneath it all, we’re all still suckers for cakes, cookies and milk.

Baking sweet treats is relatively easy and fun. Lots of us still stick to traditional cake mixes, and why wouldn’t we, when U.S. shelves are stocked with cakes in a box on sale two for $1? The secret is that, although using a packaged cake mix is not ideal, homemade food is easy fast, cheap and doesn’t have to be boring. This week I recommend an easy way to spice up a regular old cake mix and make it into a party winner. I tried out the recipe when pressed for an offering for my 80-year-old neighbor’s birthday party. If you are pushed for time and money but dare not show up to a shindig empty handed, or if people decide to drop in on you on short notice, give this upside-down cake a whirl.

Creamy chocolate upside-down cake – a good way to go
Start by buttering and flouring your usual cake pan. Layer the bottom of the pan with any sweet treats that suit you (pecans, coconut, walnuts, chocolate chips, etc.) creating a ¼ inch layer across the bottom. Prepare a chocolate cake mix as instructed. Pour mix evenly over your bottom layer. Now comes the fun part. Combine a package of powdered sugar, a package of cream cheese, and a cup of melted butter and mix until you have a thick, goopy, creamy, sweet mixture. Spoon the filling mixture into the pan over the chocolate cake but leave an inch border on each side. As the cake cooks, it will rise over and encase the filling. Cook as directed or until a fork comes out clean. Once removed from the oven, leave to cool completely (otherwise you risk the health of your beautiful layers!). Turn over onto a plate and check out your creation: a neatly topped and good looking cake that will spill with creamy, sweet filling when cut, delight your guests, and that no one will believe came from a box. Congratulations! Spice up your pantry with easy tricks like these.

The cake pictured is the cake that I made for my neighbor’s birthday, adding banana, chocolate and coconut topping to the final product. I totally cheated and it was a hit. Being in a hurry doesn’t need to make you dull anymore.

Enjoy your tea and cake time.