A Short History of Shortbread

Do you know why we call shortbread “short”? Did you know that shortbread has existed in Scotland since the Middle Ages? And did you know that shortbread is one of the stars of our 2018 November/December issue? We bet you don’t know as much as you should about this much-loved biscuit. If you feel inspired to bake a batch of these buttery cookies, the crumbly cookie base and decadent caramel filling of our Millionaire Bars will be sure to satisfy your cravings.

1. Shortbread is called short because of the traditional ratio of one part sugar to two parts butter that lends a high fat content to the dough. This yields a soft, buttery crumb that melts in your mouth, similar to short crust pastry. This ratio is also what makes shortbread so crave-worthy. 

2. A Scottish biscuit through and through, shortbread is eaten on special occasions and hasn’t changed much from its original form in the Middle Ages. When you eat or bake traditional shortbread, you’re essentially enjoying the same buttery treats that the Scots did many centuries ago. 

3. Today, shortbread is gifted to loved ones on the Scottish New Year’s celebration of Hogmanay. When the clock strikes midnight, people run onto the streets to visit friends’ and family’s homes for the first time in the new year. To wish the homeowner good luck, it’s customary to present them with a box of shortbread (and a bottle of whisky for good measure).

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