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Sara Allen

This famous shortbread
comes from the
'Land of Cakes'


Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert Burns, described Scotland as ‘the land of cakes’. Many visitors to Scotland return home with brightly coloured tins and packets of shortbread for their friends and family.

A cup of tea and a piece of shortbread is a Scottish treat. Surprisingly, shortbread is very easy to make. Here are some recipes for you to try at home. Impress your friends and family and serve these delicious biscuits.

Traditional Shortbread


  • 450 gram/12 oz plain flour
    175 gram/6oz butter
    50 gram/2oz granulated sugar
    4 tablespoons of milk

Sift the flour into a bowl and add the sugar. Heat the butter and milk over a gentle heat. When the butter has melted pour the mixture over the sugar and flour to make a soft dough (make sure it is not too sticky).

Sprinkle flour onto a hard surface and knead the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into two and roll one half onto a baking tray using a 9 inch plate as a guide to make a ring. Decorate the edges of the ring by pressing a fork gently onto the dough. Divide the ring into eight pieces. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown at a temperature of 180c. Serve when cool.

Chocolate Toffee Shortbread


For the Shortbread:

  • 225 gram/6oz plain flour

  • 175gram/6oz butter

  • 175 gram/6oz granulated sugar

  • 80 gram cornflour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

For the caramel:

  • 175 gram/6oz sugar

  • 175gram/6oz butter

  • 450 gram condensed milk

  • 1 tablespoon syrup

For the topping:

  • 175 gram plain chocolate

Stir the butter and sugar together until the mixture is creamy. Stir in the flour, cornflour and baking powder. Mix well.

Pour the mixture into a 12 inch baking tray and smooth the mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown at a temperature of 180c. Take the tin out of the oven and make the caramel mixture.

Put all the ingredients into a pan and heat gently until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat up and boil for about five minutes. Stir the mixture well for 2 minutes and when cooled slightly, pour over the shortbread.

To complete the biscuits, melt the chocolate in a bowl standing in hot water and stir the chocolate until it is melted. Pour the melted chocolate over the shortbread and caramel.

When cool, divide into squares and serve.


Giving instructions
Even if your students are not interested in cooking, they should find this text useful for the instructional language that it provides. give them a time limit of 5 minutes and ask them to look through the text individually and write down all the imperatives that they can find. Give a few examples to get them started: Impress, serve, sift, add, etc. Ask students to work with a partner and to compare lists. Explain any of the words they don't understand.

Making posters
It helps students to learn words if they have a way of recycling them. Here are two ideas. Ask your students to work alone or with one or two partners. have them draw a poster designed to teach the meaning of a selection of the words they identified in the activity above. Alternatively get them to present a picture guide to the making of one of the recipes in the article. They will need to draw step-by-step pictures and write simple accompanying instructions. Display all the finished posters on the classroom walls. More enterprising students may be interested in producing a book of illustrated recipes from their own country with instructional text in English.

Discussing foods and ingredients
In pairs, ask students to decide what are their favourite foods and recipes. Allow 5 to 10 minutes for this speaking activity. Monitor students as they work and provide any new vocabulary that they need. Then have a feedback session in which each pair reports back their preferences and their recipes to the rest of the class. To round up you might like to teach or revise quantities with students: A kilo of, a piece of, a box of, a pinch of, etc.


Pulsa aquí para consultar una lista de COOKING VERBS (verbos de cocina) con audio y presentación bilingüe.