The Origin of Shortbread

The name “shortbread” comes from shortening, the primary

ingredient in this dessert that was once reserved for

Christmas but is now enjoyed on any and every occasion.

Like many traditional desserts, shortbread has been with us

for centuries. Ancient records trace this simply prepared, yet

rich and satisfying sweet cookie as far back as Medeival

and Elizabethan Times.

In all likelihood, an early version of shortbread was first

prepared by the lower class European dairy farmers of

ancient times, who made butter a part of their daily

consumption long before the noblemen would deem it

acceptable fare. In those times, shortbread had yet to earn

its name and was actually made with oat flour instead of

wheat flour as it is today.

Some say that Queen Elizabeth was the first to popularize

the partaking of shortbread and other sweet morsels with

afternoon tea. As the story goes, the Queen had a yen for tea

and a light dessert one day, ordering her servants to

prepare a tray that she could enjoy alone in her private

sitting room. Queen Elizabeth took such a liking to this ritual

that she soon began inviting guests to indulge along with

her, and “afternoon tea and cookies” went on to become an

English tradition.

While Queen Liz may have immortalized the

tea-and-cookies ritual, Scotland took credit for the

shortbread recipe, hence the label “Traditional Scottish

Shortbread” that’s used by so many modern-day shortbread

companies. The famous shortbread recipe traveled along

with the many Anglo Europeans who migrated to the

States… and went on to become a New England favorite.

Next time you feel like raising a tea cup to your European

heritage, why not do it with a bit of authentic shortbread from

the Vermont Shortbread Company.

Copyright 2006 Vermont Shortbread Company. All rights reserved. This article provided by Copywriting and Marketing Services.

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