Peppermint Pettitcoat Tails

Thursday 14 December 2017

This is a delicious variation on the classic shortbread biscuit!  The name “petticoat tails” dates to the eighteenth century, and references the shape of the cookie, which is said to resemble a lady’s spread-out petticoat.

The Concise Encyclopedia of Gastronomy regales the following tale:  “‘An English traveller in Scotland and one very well acquainted with Frances states in his very pleasant book that our Club has fallen into a mistake in the name of these cakes, and that petticoat tails is a corruption of the French petites gatelles.

It may be so, but whatever their origins the fact remains that they are beautiful shortbread biscuits/cookies being perfectly crumbly and delicious!

Beautifully buttery and crisp shortbread triangles, flavoured with peppermint, I'll admit that they don't look very festive yet, but they will do come next week closer to  Christmas, as I plan on drizzling them with a chocolate and peppermint drizzle which will dress them up beautifully.

You can leave the peppermint flavouring out if you wish, giving you a plain shortbread petticoat tail, but the  peppermint really gives them a lovely festive touch.

You do NOT want to know the calorie count of one of these.  Trust me.   Let it suffice to say these are not healthy nor are they low fat.  They're crisp and BUTTERY!  Scrumptiously so.

Can you imagine a wheel of these, nestled amongst festively coloured tissue paper in a box for the holidays?   Tied up with red, green and white curling ribbons? 

*Peppermint Petticoat Tails*
Makes 8 servings

What afternoon tea would be complete without shortbread Petticoat Tails.  These are just that little bit more special with the addition of peppermint flavour.  Of course you can leave it out if you prefer yours plain.  Short and buttery.  Delicious!  

250g butter, at room temperature (1 cup plus 2 TBS)
100g caster sugar (1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
250g  plain flour, plus extra for dusting (1 3/4 cup plus 1 TBS)
100g cornflour (2/3 cup cornstarch)
1/2 tsp salt
icing sugar to dust

Put the butter, sugar and peppermint extract into the bowl of a food processor.  Blitz until the mixture is pale and creamy.  Sift together the flour and cornflour.  Stir in the salt.    

Tip the dry ingredients into the bowl of the food processor and pulse until the  mixture begins to form small clumps.  Tip out onto a lightly floured board.  Bring the dough together into a ball without overworking it.   

 Place into a 9 inch fluted tart tin with a loose bottom.  Gently press out evenly in the tin using floured fingers and a light touch.   Mark into 8 equal wedges with the tines of a fork.
Place into the refrigerator to chill for half an hour.  Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.

Place onto a baking sheet and then bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.  Leave to cool completely on the tray.  (I like to re-prick with a fork about five minutes after I remove it from the oven for each of breaking into wedges.)  Allow to cool completely in the pan.  Dust with icing sugar.   Will keep nicely in a tightly covered tin for up to 5 days.

Peppermint Pettitcoat Tails

What friend or neighbor wouldn't smile broadly at such a gift!  You can bake several of these ahead and freeze them, tightly wrapped until the day you want to give them away.  Guaranteed to make you popular with everyone!  Bon Appetit and Happy Holidays! 

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  1. I love how you have named shortbreads I too make w/out the mint..oh they must be lovely and the pics are so pretty!

    1. Thanks very much Monique! I am thinking that a leaf of fresh peppermint blitzed with the sugar before adding it to the mix would be lovely! xo

  2. I think they look wonderfully festive as is! I was smitten by the name alone. Gorgeous photos. I must give this one a try! It's snowing and I'm in cookie baking mode!

    1. Just pop on the Christmas music and bake away Jeanie! Xo

  3. Is 2/3cups cornstarch correct? I don't think over ever used that much. But I haven't done a lot of baking. I'd love to make these for gifts.

    1. Yes, that is the correct amount of cornflour/cornstarch Barbara! I hope your friends/family enjoy them! xo


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