Chocolate Orange Shortbread + Single Malt Scotch
Break out the bagpipes and dust off your kilt! January 25th marks the annual celebratory tribute to the life, works and spirit of the famed Scottish Poet, Robert Burns. The tradition stretches back to 1801, five years after the poet’s death, when a group of his close friends got together to honour the great Bard with speeches, song and a hearty Scottish meal. Centre stage was the haggis, piped in with the host performing the Address to a Haggis. Many toasts followed including one to the Lassies the recitation of his celebrated works of poetry, copious amounts of singing and a river of Scotch. The evening ending with everyone giving thanks singing Auld Lang Syne, his most famous poem. The tradition continues today around the world with the 25th of January, his birthday, marking Burns Night. Basically a jolly good excuse for a party to beat the winter blues.
Now Scottish fare can be a bit intimidating. Haggis, basically an oatmeal and offal-laden dish of sheep’s innards, can a be a hard sell when sending out invitations. Furthermore, many traditional dishes have traditional Scottish names…Cullen Skink (smoked haddock soup), Neeps and Tatties (turnip and potatoes), Tipsy Laird, Cranachan and Clootie Dumpling (all desserts), may sound confusing and downright scary to the unadventurous eater.
Let’s say that hosting an authentic Burns Night supper is not in your comfort zone but you’re still looking to share in the festivities. May we suggest a generous dram of your favourite Scotch and a wedge of our buttery shortbread to celebrate Scotland’s most famous son (sorry Sean Connery) and a guaranteed cure for the winter doldrums.
For our Scotch, we went with a Highland single malt; single in two ways, one kind of grain (malted barley) and from one location. Our’s hails from the Eastern Highlands, the County of Aberdeen, and one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, Glen Garioch. This glowing amber Scotch opened up with lots of orange blossom and sweet spice aromas followed by chocolatey, caramel, vanilla and liquorice flavours. A bit of heat for sure at 55.3% abv. and underlying it all this faint déjà vu of banana bread. To enhance all those flavours we naturally decided to match them in our shortbread recipe. As you can see below our buttery shortbread is studded with bittersweet chocolate chips, fragrant orange zest, vanilla and anise seed. We also figured out a way to add a banana for good measure.
Chocolate Orange Shortbread
makes a 10 inch shortbread
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 ripe banana, sliced
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2-1/2 cup flour
- zest of an orange
- 1/2 tsp crushed fennel or anise seed
- 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- 2 tsp coarse sanding sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl add the cubed butter, banana chunks, sugar, vanilla, flour, orange zest, fennel seed and chocolate chips.
- Using your fingertips, blend or rub the butter and banana into the other ingredients.
- You want to have a loose dough with some small bits of butter still visible.
- Dump the dough into a 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Gently press the dough, pushing it into all the scalloped edges.
- Score the surface into 8 to 10 wedges (this will help you be able to cut into neat pieces after baking).
- Sprinkle with surface with the coarse sanding sugar.
- Chill the shortbread 30 minutes.
- Bake until the shortbread starts to become golden around the edges, about 25 to 35 minutes.
- Allow to cool on a rack before removing the shortbread from the pan.
- Once cool cut into wedges.
- Enjoy with a wee dram.
The Glen Garioch 1995/2012 Batch 10 is a special bottle, limited relese so don’t fear if you can’t find it (we’ve had ours tucked away for a bit now). Scotland’s Highland region is the largest and produces the most diverse selection of Scotch. With an open mind and a Braveheart you’re sure to find many new and exciting types of Scotch, each bottle containing history, tradition and artisanship.
Originally known as ‘aqua vitae’ or ‘water of life’, Scotch is a fitting tribute to celebrate life and a toast to old acquaintances.
Join the festivities and raise a glass. To all we wish you a richt guid nicht!
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne!
Robert Burns 1788
All photography, food styling, recipes and pairings are our own creations.
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