Helen's Shortbread

Shortbread Day

Jan 6

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Shortbread Day
Helen's Shortbread
Shortbread Day
Shortbread Fingers
Shortbread Day
Petticoat Tails
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Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"Sympathy sat in her heart like a bird in the nest. 'I'll make that woman some shortbread', she'll say." ~ Shortbread, Kate Llewellyn

Many have a traditional family or favorite shortbread recipe with classic ingredients that never fail to please. Interesting artisan recipes may include chai, rosemary, lemon, chocolate, etc ... , expected flavours compatible with a sweet biscuit. However, one of the more surprising shortbread trends is adding the flavour of Katsuobushi, a smoked, aged and dried skipjack tuna, which gives an unusual umami character.Many have a traditional family or favorite shortbread recipe with classic ingredients that never fail to please. Modern artisan recipes may include trendy flavors of chai, rosemary, lemon, or chocolate, flavours compatible with a sweet biscuit. However, one of the more surprising shortbread trends is adding the flavour of Katsuobushi, a smoked, aged and dried skipjack tuna, for an unusual umami character!

Helen's Shortbread

Everyone's favourite biscuit or cookie, shortbread, is known for its buttery goodness and crispy texture.  Recipes are passed down in families with secret ratios of the three basic ingredients: butter, flour, sugar (and maybe a pinch of salt).  Their sugary cousin, the sugar cookie has a much different texture, flavour, and 

Interestingly, during the time when many of the first shortbread recipes were published in the 18th century, they were more elaborate.  They were baked with candied citrus peels and garnished with caraway comfits.

In Shetland, it is traditional to break a decorated shortbread cake over the head of a new bride on the entrance of her new house.  Brides might prefer a more traditional recipe over the candied sticky peel sort.

Some claim that “traditional” Scottish shortbread is made with farola:  “Scottish Shortbread is traditionally made with farola, a free-flowing cream coloured and fine granular powder or flour milled from durum wheat” though research into recipes has not yet supported this claim.

 

Most shortbread recipes today call for using caster sugar rather than granulated sugar.  Note: caster sugar is not powdered sugar (which has added corn starch) .  Caster sugar is very fine granulated sugar and commonly used British baking as it dissolves more rapidly leaving a finer texture to the baked good.   But in all cases, the butter is the most important element, ensuring that distinctive flavour and golden colour.

 

Click the "Keep Calm and Eat Shortbread" poster for recipe variations for three different traditional shortbread textures, gritty, fine, and melting, as well as additions for classic shortbread variations for:

 

  • Pitcaithly Bannock (almonds, caraway seeds, crystallized orange)

  • Yetholm Bannock (chopped ginger)

 

All recipes are from Catherine Brown's "A Year in a Scots Kitchen." 

Helen's Shortbread
Helen's Shortbread

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The majority of dance descriptions referenced on this site have been taken from the

 

Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary or the

Scottish Country Dancing Database 

 

Snapshots of dance descriptions are provided as an overview only.  As updates may have occurred, please click the dance description to be forwarded to a printable dance description or one of the official reference sources.

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