Hello and welcome to Romance Recipes where I am happy to introduce you to a new author and a new recipe! Two of my favorite things! Today I am bringing you author, Jenna Jaxon, and her recipe for Traditional Scottish Shortbread along with an introduction to her historical romance, Only A Mistress Will Do. Please join me in welcoming Jenna and savor her recipe for scottish shortbread as you read about her new book!
Traditional Scottish Shortbread
I have always loved Scottish Shortbread (and I’m lucky: Walkers now makes a gluten-free version), therefore, when my hero and heroine sat down to an afternoon tea, I gave them shortbread fingers and included a little bit of the history of shortbread as conversation.
Shortbread, in one form, came to us from the 12th century, when it was “biscuit bread” made with yeast and was likely leftover bread dough, twice baked (the meaning of the word ‘biscuit’) until very hard. Eventually, the yeast was replaced by copious amounts of butter or “shortening,” and we have our “shortbread” of today.
The following is an 18th century recipe for Scottish Shortbread, after which I will give a modern day version.
18th Century Scottish Shortbread
“Take a Peck of flour, and four pounds of butter English, or three pounds Scots weight; put the butter on to come a-boil; make a hole in the flour, and pour the boiling butter in it; work the flour and butter a little while together; pour in a mutchkin of good yeast amongst the paste; work it together, but not too much; divide the paste, and roll it out oval; then cut through the middle, and plait it at the ends; keep out a little of the flour to work out the bread; flour gray paper, and fire the bread on it: if you make it sweet, allow a pound of sugar to the peck of flour at least; if you want it very rich, put in citron, orange-peel, and almonds, strew white carvy on the top; be sure to mix the sugar and the fruit with the flour before you wet it; remember to prick it well on top. Fire it on paper, dusted with flour, in a moderate oven.” From the Culloden Battlefield Blog
Modern Scottish Shortbread
2 cups butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
4-4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325°. Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add 3 ¾ cups flour; mix well. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes, adding enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Roll to ½” thickness. Cut into 3 X 1 strips. Place 1” apart on ungreased baking sheets. Prick with fork. Bake until lightly browned, 20-25 minutes. Cool. Yield: about 4 dozen
The man of her dreams . . . belongs to another woman.
Destitute and without friends, Violet Carlton is forced to seek employment at the House of Pleasure in London. She steels herself for her first customer and is shocked when the man rescues her instead of ravishing her. A grateful Violet cannot help but admire the handsome Viscount Trevor. But she must curb her desire for the dashing nobleman she can never have because he is already betrothed to another . . .
Tristan had gone to the House of Pleasure for a last bit of fun before he became a faithful married man. But when he recognizes the woman in his bed, he becomes determined to save her instead. Now, his heart wars with his head as he falls for the vulnerable courtesan. Unable to break his betrothal without a scandal, Tris resolves to find Violet proper employment or a husband of her own. Still, his arms ache for Violet, urging him to abandon propriety and sacrifice everything to be with the woman he loves. . . .
“And you have now come to that desperate point where you seek employment with me?” The business-like tone, neither condoning nor condemning, stiffened Violet’s resolve.
“Yes, ma’am. As of today, I have nowhere else to go, no one to turn to.” A sickening churn of her stomach that had nothing to do with hunger sent tension through her. “Nothing else of value.”
“You are how old, Miss Carlton?”
“Nineteen, ma’am. Almost twenty.”
“Let me see you walk, please.” With a crisp snap, Vestry pulled the curtains open and nodded to the path between the sofa and fireplace.
Violet straightened her skirts as best she could. Suddenly stiff and self-conscious, she concentrated on putting one foot before the other until she came face to face with another obscene painting. She clenched her hands and averted her eyes.
Feeling more and more like a horse or a cow at Smithfield market, she did as she was told, hopefully with a bit more grace.
In reward, Vestry gave her a slight nod. “You speak and move as befit your station, Miss Carlton. With a little training, I suspect you will be quite popular with our patrons. I should be able to command a high price for your virginity.”
Violet’s feet tangled in the plush carpet.
The scant approval vanished as Vestry glared at her. “I assume you are intact?”
Oh, the shame. How could this woman suggest she had already lain with a man? Bitterness flooded her mouth and her chest ached with mortification. Finally, she managed a curt nod.
“Lie down on the sofa please.”
“I am not fool enough to take your word, Miss Carlton.” Vestry smiled mirthlessly. “A brief inspection will allow me to assure your buyer he is indeed purchasing a virgin.”
Her cheeks heated at the humiliation this woman suggested. The cold inevitability of her situation rolled over her, engulfing her as though she was drowning beneath a relentless sea. Madame Vestry demanded almost nothing compared to the real horror awaiting her at the hands of her buyer. Still, she had chosen to live. She could no longer afford the luxury of respectability.
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Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical in all time periods because passion is timeless. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She’s a theatre director when she’s not writing and lives in Virginia with her family, including two very vocal cats.
Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as Vice-President of Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA. She has three series currently available: The House of Pleasure, set in Georgian England, Handful of Hearts, set in Regency England, and Time Enough to Love, set in medieval England and France.
She currently writes to support her chocolate habit.
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Thank you for joining us for another Romance Recipes! I hope you’ll stop by next week to meet another author, try a new recipe and pick up a new book!