*Pinnies & Poppy Seeds is now closed, but destined for a re-opening somewhere new!*
Amongst other things, Scotland is known for its shortbread. Buttery biscuits line the shelves of tourist shops no matter where you are in this country. However, these mass produced, preservative-ridden biscuits pale in comparison to the soft, crumbly, handmade shortbread found in Pinnies & Poppy Seeds.
If you haven’t already guessed, Pinnies & Poppy Seeds is a shortbread shop and it’s proudly the only one in Edinburgh. Jennifer, an American expat in Edinburgh, is the heart and soul of this hot spot, which has enthralled locals and visitors alike. On any given day, you’ll find Jennifer rolling dough, melting chocolate, making caramel, and serving customers – sometimes even at the same time. Let’s just say that she’s an absolute boss.
I first discovered Pinnies & Poppy Seeds in 2012 during a visit to the famed Stockbridge market. The table full of shortbread instantly caught my eye (surprise, surprise) and as a return customer I struck up a friendship with Jennifer. In these early days, Pinnies & Poppy Seeds was a sweet treat only found at local markets, but in 2013 Jennifer opened her very own shop just near the Royal Mile. This business has grown before my eyes over the past 4 years and has merited all of its success. Here’s why…
The aroma: The instant you walk through the door, you are greeted by the smell of butter and sugar. It’s exactly what a shortbread shop should smell like. If you’re wise, you’ll leave and enter the shop a few times just to experience the buttery fragrance more than once. For the record, Jennifer exclusively uses Scottish butter. Bonus points for her!
The shortbread: It’s different from any other shortbread you’ve ever had. It’s rich, crunchy, soft, and crumbly all at the same time. It’s everything you want shortbread to be. What distinguishes Pinnies & Poppy Seeds is the variety of inventive flavours of shortbread. While the classic butter shortbread is always available in the shop, there are usually four other flavours to tease your palate. We’re talking about flavours like cinnamon sugar, cardamom white chocolate, chocolate hazelnut, sugared lemon and raspberry, toasted coconut and pecan, pistachio and rose, and dark chocolate orange. And that’s not even the full range of flavours that rotate throughout the year! Jennifer gets creative with seasonal flavours like chai spice, chocolate chilli, ginger dark chocolate, and raspberry white chocolate. It’s usually hard to choose just one. My recommendation is that you pick at least 4… at the very least.
Shorties: Shorties are bite-sized shortbread sandwiches and I’ve been hooked to these since the very beginning. Expect 2 small rounds of flavoured shortbread glued together with a sweet ganache. For example, the Victoria Sponge Shortie is two all butter shortbread rounds filled with white chocolate and raspberry ganache. Other varieties include Carrot Shorties, Lemon Poppyseed Shorties, and Maple Pecan Shorties. My personal favourite is the autumnal Pumpkin Spice Shortie: pumpkin spice shortbread filled with vanilla ganache. SO GOOD! I would have a personal reserve of Pumpkin Spice Shorties year round if I could!
Millionaire’s Shortbread Truffles: Jennifer makes these truffle balls and they are seriously delicious. Imagine crumbled shortbread rolled with caramel, then dipped in chocolate and coated with shredded coconut. The whole package, right?! These truffles get me every time and for good reason!
Ballantyne Toffee: This chocolate toffee bark is a secret family recipe and it’s easy to see why. The Ballantyne Toffee is a layered treat: chocolate, caramel, chocolate again, and crushed almonds. It’s heaven. Get at least 100 grams of the stuff. You won’t regret it.
Candied Pecans: At Christmas, Jennifer makes special batches of candied pecans and they are divine! The first time I bought a container of these candied pecans, I downed them in one sitting. Now, I take these home to my family for Christmas every year and they barely last a minute. I get repeat requests for these pecans from the folk back home. If you’re in town in December, invest in these! After all, nuts are healthy, right?
Clearly, it’s virtually effortless to convince anyone to pay a visit to Pinnies & Poppy Seeds. This post basically wrote itself because the treats are so damn good! Get yourself down to this shortbread mecca and if you see Jennifer, tell her I say hello!