We haven’t been able to find out why this particular type of shortbread biscuit is called Viennese: there is no obvious Austrian connection. While both Scottish and Viennese shortbread are made from flour, butter and sugar, there are a couple of distinct differences, which result in very different products.
For Scottish Shortbread the proportions of flour, butter and sugar used are 3 to 2 to 1; in Viennese shortbread recipes you’ll find it’s 4 parts flour to 4 parts butter to 1 part sugar. Scottish shortbread recipes specify caster sugar while Viennese shortbread recipes use icing sugar, which results in a much finer texture.
From the ever reliable Women’s Institute comes this basic recipe.
- 110g (4oz) plain flour
- 110g (4oz) butter
- 25g (1oz) icing sugar
- vanilla essence
- Glace cherries
Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease a baking sheet. Sieve the flour.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add a few drops of vanilla essence and gradually mix in the flour.
Put the dough into a piping bag onto which is fitted a large star nozzle. Pipe rounds onto the baking sheet. Place half a cherry on each. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until pale and beginning to firm up.
Leave to cool on the baking sheet before removing. Store in an airtight container.
- Stick 2 together using raspberry jam or buttercream – or both!
- Pipe into fingers and dip the ends in melted chocolate.
- 175g (6 oz) plain flour
- 50g (2 oz) cornflour
- 50g (2 oz) icing sugar
- 225g (8 oz) butter or margarine (butter will give the best taste)
- Vanilla essence
- raspberry seedless jam
- Icing sugar for decoration
Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Place paper cases in a bun tray. Sieve together the flour and cornflour.
Sieve the icing sugar onto the softened butter and beat until smooth and light. Fold in the sifted flours and stir in a few drops of vanilla essence.
Put the dough into a piping bag onto which is fitted a ½” star nozzle. Pipe it into the paper cases, in a spiral, starting in the centre and working out so there is a little hollow left in the middle. Bake for about 20 minutes or until just golden. Allow to cool and then dredge generously with sifted icing sugar. Finally place a tiny blob of jam in the middle.
Nutty Viennese Cookies
- 225g (8 oz) plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 225g (8 oz) butter, softened
- 25g (1 oz) icing sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla essence
- 50g (2 oz) pecans, roughly chopped
- 50g (2 oz) good quality chocolate
Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease a baking sheet. Sieve together the flour and salt.
Cream together the butter and icing sugar until light and soft. Add half the flour and beat well. Fold in the remaining flour and the vanilla essence. Place dough in a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe fingers onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle the chopped nuts on top and bake for about 15 minutes.
Leave to cool slightly on the baking sheet before placing on a wire cooling tray. While the cookies are cooling melt the chocolate and drizzle over the fingers.
Chocolate Viennese Biscuits
- 75g (3 oz) plain flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon drinking chocolate powder
- 25g (1 oz) good quality dark chocolate
- 110g (4 oz) butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Grease a baking sheet. Sieve together the flour, baking powder and drinking chocolate. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water.
Cream the butter and beat in the icing sugar and melted chocolate. Add the sifted flour and beat well. Place dough in a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe fingers onto the baking sheet. Cook for about 15 – 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly on the baking sheet before removing. To serve, dredge with icing sugar.