did you know...

Shortbread originated in Scotland. While scholars disagree about the origins of the actual term “shortbread”, there is no doubt about its country of origin. Countries that are traditional cattle countries naturally have many foods which contain dairy products, in Scotland, butter and cheese (because they keep) tend to flavour many foods.

Shortbread was initially made by the poor and was originally made with oats, butter and sometimes caraway seeds for flavour.

Shortbread can be traced to medieval "biscuit bread" or bannock. Any leftover dough from bread making was dried out in a low oven until it hardened into a type of rusk: the word "biscuit" means "twice cooked". Gradually the yeast in the bread was replaced by butter, and biscuit bread developed into shortbread.
Shortbread was made to last. Bread would go mouldy on long treks or out with the cattle/sheep for months. Shortbread would last and went very well with stew.

It was in 19th century that the rich, no longer concerned with eating what they saw as the food of the poor started eating shortbread. The rich could afford sugar, so adding it, and substituting wheat flour for oats, made the sweet shortbread seen today.

During the Scottish holiday season, (Hogmanay, to those in the know), Scottish sweet shortbread was flavoured with almond, or with bits of candied lemon or orange peel.

Coach House Shortbread Co. takes this several steps further with our many flavours: 10 sweet flavours and 5 savoury (and I use those traditional fancy bits - lemon, orange and almond)
Shortbread traditions:

Shortbread is traditional at Scottish weddings and is an entirely suitable gift for a bride or bride to be.

Some Scottish traditions have, that on her wedding day, the mother of the groom breaks a shortbread loaf or cookie on the brides head – if it was soft, she liked the bride, but a large hard loaf of shortbread could be used for a bride not to her liking.

The custom of eating shortbread at New Year has its origins in the ancient pagan Yule Cakes which symbolized the sun. This is why shortbread is often cooked in large rounds with lines coming from the middle. In Scotland it is still traditionally offered to "first footers" at New Year.

Mary, Queen of Scots, is said to have been very fond of Petticoat Tails, a thin, crisp, buttery shortbread originally flavoured with caraway seeds. "Petticoat tail" may be a corruption of the French petites gatelles ("little cakes"), or the name may come from the thin wedge shape of the biscuit.

Shortbread is traditionally formed into one of three shapes: one large circle divided into segments ("Petticoat Tails"); individual round biscuits ("Shortbread Rounds"); or a thick  rectangular slab cut into "fingers."

Although shortbread is most widely understood to have originated in Scotland, the delicious combination of butter, flour and something sweet or salty has no one place to call home. In Quebec you'll find Sables and Biscuits d’Erable; the Italians have Frollini; in Spain they have their Polvorones; while in France they have Palets Bretons; in China they have Mooncakes; in Chile they have Alfajor; and in India they have Naan Khatai. Although no 2 traditions are identical, they all share in common some basic ingredients, a wonderful distinct texture, and an irresistible flavour. Sweet or salty; crispy, crunchy, or melt-in your-mouth, Shortbread and its’ cousins have an almost universal appeal.