My sister discovered the loveliest book, Aran by Flora Shedden, at a local boutique just in time for Christmas last year. After unwrapping the sweet present, I knew it was a treasured find. The book is a beautiful blend of enchanting photography, delightful recipes and heartfelt stories of community in the Scottish Highlands.
The cover art alone makes me want to book a trip to Scotland to experience the charming bakery in person. You will love the whimsical, sweeping florals – their signature style for bakery decor and cake toppers (see them here). Who needs candles when you have roses?!
Flora Shedden started Aran Bakery in her hometown of Dunkeld on the Isle of Skye, deep in the Highlands of Scotland. If you ever have the chance to visit, the Isle of Skye is one of the most extraordinary places to explore - it feels untamed and breathtakingly beautiful, particularly from the high peaks of the Trotternish Ridge as seen on the Quiraing Walk. Can you tell I’m dreaming of another trip already?
In the meantime, I’ll bake some special treats from the book to share with family and friends – we can daydream of Scotland together!
There are recipes in “Aran” for both the novice and the experienced baker. In case you are not ready to attempt croissants from scratch, I recommend trying a crowd pleaser like the shortbread.
Quick, simple and made from ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen, it is perfect for a gathering of friends to share over tea and coffee. Here is a Scottish shortbread cookie recipe inspired by Aran’s - I added a bit of salt to balance the sweetness. Enjoy!
*Disclaimer - House of Inverness has no affiliate relationship with any of the companies or linked websites in this article. These are simply products and sites we personally enjoy and use!
Scottish Shortbread Cookie Recipe
¾ cup + 1 heaping tablespoon (170g) Confectioners Sugar
1 cup (280g) Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
2 cups + 2 tablespoons (290g) All Purpose Flour
1 ¼ cup (160g) Cornstarch
¼ teaspoon Salt
Tip: Confectioners sugar makes the shortbread extra tender. If you don’t have any on hand, simply use an equivalent amount of granulated sugar and blend it in a food processor for one minute.
Preheat oven to 280 degrees F and generously grease a 9x9 baking dish with butter.
Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Set bowl aside.
Mix butter and sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy (stand mixer with the paddle attachment also works).
Gradually add flour mixture until just combined. Dough will be crumbly.
Gently press dough evenly in the prepared baking dish and prick with a fork to allow steam to escape.
Bake for approximately 50 minutes until lightly golden.
Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before cutting into squares with a sharp knife (cutting shortbread while warm prevents crumbling). Allow to cool completely before removing from dish.
Store in an airtight container.
Who do you love baking for? I enjoy making special treats for my family the most - they love these cookies, too!