January 6, 2021
National Shortbread Day
Shortbread is a traditional Scottish dessert typically made with:
1 part white sugar
2 parts butter
3 parts flour
Modern recipes deviate from the 3 ingredient rule by splitting the sugar portion into equal parts of granulated sugar and powdered sugar and adding salt. Plain white (wheat) flour is commonly used. However, some bakers use ground rice or cornflour to alter the texture.
Shortbread earns its name because of its crumbly texture. Its high-fat content provided by the butter results in a short-bread crumb. “Shortening” refers to any fat that may be added to produce a “short” (crumbly) texture.
Prepared often during the 12th century, Mary, Queen of Scots receives credit for the innovation of the shortbread during the 16th century. As it was expensive to make, the sweet cookie was reserved as a luxury for special occasions.
In Shetland (northeast of mainland Britain), they traditionally break a decorated shortbread cake over the head of a new bride upon the entrance of her new home.