National Shortbread Day

Shortbread’s creation is credited to Mary Queen of Scots in the 16th Century, however the roots of this biscuit can be traced back to the 12th Century, as a type of sweet biscuit bread.  Shortbread was originally reserved for celebrations such as weddings, christenings and for family gatherings at Christmas and Hogmanay.

Despite being made in many countries it is perhaps most synonymous with Scotland and is often seen as the flagship of Scottish food. This is perhaps because whilst cakes and other butter biscuits are made around the world, the Scottish examples were judged to be the world’s finest. Almost every country produces their own version of the ‘butter biscuit’ a simple combination of butter, flour, sugar and salt, only the Scottish examples were recognised as the finest examples in the world.

Although in the past we may have only enjoyed Shortbread on special occasions, today we enjoy shortbread at any time of the year.

Facts About Short Bread…

  • Shortbread is a type of cookietraditionally made from one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour (by weight).
  • Shortbread is different from shortcake, though they are similar. The difference is that shortcake can be made using vegetable fat instead of butter and usually has a chemical leavening agent such as baking powder, which gives it a different texture.
  • Beside the three primary ingredients, many shortbread recipes call for salt, which helps to enhance the taste.
  • Shortbread history goes back to at least the 12th century and originally started as biscuit bread.
  • The first printed recipe originated in Scotland, from a Scotswoman named Mrs McLintock.
  • Shortbread was defended by early Scottish bakers who fought to prevent shortbread from being classified as a biscuit to avoid paying a government tax on biscuits.
  • January 6th is National Shortbread Day.
  • Traditional shortbread comes in either rounds, fingers or “petticoat tails” – delicate triangles cut from a larger circle, made to resemble the petticoats which medieval ladies, like Mary Queen of Scots would have worn.
  • The large amount of butter is what makes shortbread short. The term short, when applied to biscuits and pastry, means crumbly.