The Story of Scottish Shortbread

The art of cooking for the Scots goes back to the influence they received from the french. They were introduced to English cuisine through Queen Victoria. While Scotland is known for many famous dishes, to the top the list are…

  • Soups
  • Haggis
  • Scones
  • Pancakes
  • Fruitcakes
  • Oatcakes
  • Shortbread

While many of these are well known one that stands out as a favorite in other parts of the world is the Scottish Shortbread. Going back in time is was known as biscuit bread. It came about to ensure there was no waste of food. Dough that was left over from the bread making would be put in a low temperature oven to dry out to the point where it would be hard and perceived as a biscuit. Biscuit means “twice cooked”. As time passed the yeast would be replaced with butter which now took the biscuit bread to a whole level now known as shortbread.

With butter being such an expensive commodity shortbread was only reserved for the very rich. On very special occasions those who were not well off would indulge in the making of some shortbread. Shortbread became part of a ritual of being eaten on New Year’s. This was a pagan customer, and the shortbread was referred to as Yule cakes.

Mary, Queen of Scots had a fancy for Petticoat Tails. These were comprised of shortbread that was very thin and crisp and were adorned with caraway seeds.

Shortbread in Scotland has revolved with the offering of different types being offered in Scotland such as that which contains nuts, fruit and chocolate. Tourists to Scotland will often want to bring shortbread back to their homelands as gifts. They will often be able to buy small amounts of shortbread that has been wrapped in Tartan. The original version is still going strong in Scotland and still brings the same wonderful enjoyment.

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