a place setting in time: shortbread pinwheel cookies (the loch ness monster)
The Loch Ness Monster, commonly referred to as Nessie is well known throughout the world. The legend of Nessie’s existence dates back almost 1500 years ago. But, it is on May 2, 1933 that the legend takes on a life of its own. A sighting is reported by a local Scottish Highland couple. The story, reported in the Inverness Courier, is picked up by London papers and, as we say today, it went viral.
Those who study the history of the Loch Ness Monster find many references to Nessie that date back to 500 AD. Stones in the area of Loch Ness, the largest body of fresh water in Great Britain, reveal carvings, possibly made by the Picts, of a strange water beast. In the 7th century a note made regarding Nessie can be found in the biography of Saint Columba, who saved a man who was about to be attacked by Nessie.
After the 1933 sighting the legend of Nessie grew. Many believe that Nessie is real. No matter the camp in which you reside, the Loch Ness Monster still captures the imagination of believers and non-believers as alike.
As a nod to our Scottish friend, Nessie, we offer a brief history of and a recipe for shortbread cookies. These cookies (or biscuits) date back a medieval bread biscuit that was baked twice, dusted with sugar and spices. The original biscuits used yeast. Eventually butter replaced the yeast. We get the word “shortbread” from the word “shortening. Shortbread cookies were a treat, reserved for the wealthy or special occasion, only. Eventually it became a beloved cookie that is now enjoyed anytime by people all over the world.
Shortbread Pinwheel Cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons hot milk
1. Cream shortening, sugar and vanilla; blend in egg yolk and 1 tablespoon milk.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. Gradually mix flour mixture into creamed mixture.
4. Divide dough in half; to one half, add chocolate and 1 tablespoon milk. Blend well.
5. Form the dough into discs, wrap in plastic wrap and chill the dough for at least 1 ½ hours.
6. On waxed paper or parchment paper, roll each half of dough into 10×12 inch rectangle. Brush chocolate layer with hot milk; place plain layer on top of chocolate layer.
7. Roll, lengthwise, as you would for jelly roll.
8. Wrap roll in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least an hour.
9. When you are getting ready to take bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
10. When dough is finally chilled unwrap and slice into thin rounds.
11. Place cookies on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.
12. Remove from cookie sheet and cool before serving