SHORTBREAD, UNITED KINGDOM

12th CENTURY

 

There are two different explanations for the name, Shortbread. Some sources cite the crumbly or “short” texture of the product. Others attribute the name to its high percentage of shortening, or butter. [1]

 

Shortbread is traditionally formed into one of three shapes: one large circle, which is divided into segments as soon as it is taken out of the oven (petticoat tails); individual round biscuits (shortbread rounds); or a thick (¾" or 2 cm) oblong slab cut into fingers. [2]

 

It is a classic Scottish dessert, originated from medieval biscuit bread, firstly made in the 12th century. [3] But its invention is often attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587) in the 16th century, which recipe was refined closely to the shortbread we eat today. [4] Shortbread was an expensive luxury and for ordinary people, shortbread was a special treat reserved just for special occasions such as weddings, Christmas and New Year. [5]

 

Today, we eat shortbread cookies all year round, and still a common choice when celebrating holidays. Due to the cookie’s origin, Shortbread also became a popular souvenir from Scotland.

 

BASIC INGREDIENTS:

flour, butter, white sugar

Optional: wheat flour, ground rice, corn flour/cornstarch, powdered sugar, salt, flavoring, fruit, nuts, chocolate

Shortbread Cookie in the form of oblong slab cut into fingers

A Slice of Shortbread Cookie from a Large Circle, Shortbread Cookie Mold at the upper-right corner 

Photo by texascooking / CC BY

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