Trying and experimenting with new treats is always a delight. Shortbread cookies may be an ancient recipe, but many beginners are still figuring them out.
These Scottish biscuits are delicious and relatively easy to make. However, what are shortbread cookies?
Shortbread cookies have a rich history across Europe. In this post, we’re going over the origin of the cookies and their variations.
In addition, we’ll explore the difference between shortbread cookies and a variety of other well-liked cookies.
Shortbread cookies are traditional Scottish cookies. The cookies originated sometime in the 12th century, and then Mary Queen of Scots perfected them in the 16th century.
In addition, French cuisine also influenced the Scottish recipe due to the excellence of French pastries at the time.
For many people, the name shortbread can be a bit confusing.
What does short mean?
Is it considered bread?
However, the word short doesn’t have anything to do with the cookie’s shape or length. Instead, “short” historically means baked with a lot of fat.
As for the bread, originally in Scotland, people made shortbread from leftover bread dough.
The fascinating thing about shortbread cookies is the simplicity of making them.
Shortbread cookies have only three main ingredients. These ingredients are butter, sugar, and flour.
With this in mind, the central component of shortbread cookies is butter.
Shortbread cookies are supposed to crumble if broken in half. In addition, they’ve got a buttery rich flavor that melts in your mouth.
Here’s the simplest way to make shortbread cookies at home. You’ll need the following.
- 1 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/2 a cup of sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
In addition, make sure that you use high-quality butter because butter is the ingredient that’ll flavor the cookies.
- Sift the flour and salt together.
- In another big bowl, mix the butter and sugar.
- Add the vanilla to the butter and sugar.
- Add the flour gradually and combine well.
- Roll out on a tray and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.
- Cut into one-inch strips or use a cookie cutter to shape it how you like.
- Preheat the oven and put your cookies at 350ºF for about thirty-five minutes.
- Take the cookies out of the oven once they become golden.
- Lift them off carefully and leave them to cool on a wire rack.
Shortbread cookie dough needs to chill in the fridge before baking. Leaving the dough on the kitchen counter won’t necessarily ruin it, but it may not yield the same result.
For this reason, it’s better to keep shortbread cookie dough in the fridge before getting it into the oven.
With this in mind, you can store shortbread dough overnight. In addition, the dough can be kept in the fridge for a whole week and in the freezer for two months.
After baking the cookies, store them in an airtight and dry container.
With this in mind, the cookies can last for about a week or ten in the sealed container. It also can stay in the fridge for about ten to fifteen days.
In addition, you can keep your homemade shortbread cookies for about two months in the freezer.
In addition to the simple shortbread cookies, shortbread also exists in many variations, like the following types.
Scottish shortbread is just another name for original shortbread cookies. It’s baked with two cups of flour, one cup of butter, and half a cup of sugar.
Then it’s dusted with sugar before serving.
Millionaire’s Shortbread or caramel shortbread is a dessert made with original shortbread cookies.
With that in mind, Millionaire’s Shortbread is crushed shortbread cookies, chocolate, and caramel.
First, the crushed shortbread cookies are mixed with melted butter and pressed into a tray.
Next, a layer of caramel is poured on top of it, and then it’s topped with chocolate. Finally, it’s cut into squares after chilling.
For this reason, Millionaire’s Shortbread is known for having even more butter and sugar than the original Shortbread biscuits, explaining its name.
Billionaire’s Shortbread is almost exactly like Millionaire’s Shortbread. However, the only difference is that Billionaire’s Shortbread is an upgraded version of the latter.
Billionaire’s Shortbread has salted caramel instead of regular unsalted caramel, and it uses dark and white chocolate to create a marble effect.
In addition, sometimes Billionaire’s Shortbread is made with marshmallows and nuts.
Shortbread crust or sablé breton is a French variation of the Scottish shortbread.
Shortbread crust uses the same ingredients as shortbread cookies. However, instead of being cut into cookies, the shortbread is made into a crust.
This way, you can use shortbread as a base for pies, tarts, and even cheesecakes.
Whipped shortbread cookies are a slight variation of Scottish shortbread cookies. They’re usually softer than ordinary shortbread cookies.
They’re fluffy and melt in your mouth even more than the original recipe.
For this reason, they use melted butter and sugar powder to whip the ingredients into a smoother dough.
Shortbread cookies are unlike regular cookies because they don’t have leavening agents. Cookies usually have leavening agents like baking soda, powder, eggs, or cream.
In this section, we’ll learn the difference between shortbread cookies and other traditional cookies.
Butter cookies are Danish cookies made from sugar, flour, and butter.
Their origin differs from shortbread cookies, but their ingredients are fairly similar. The main difference is the ratios of their components.
For the butter cookies, the amount of sugar is more than that of butter, which results in a slightly different texture from shortbread cookies.
However, butter cookies are the closest thing to shortbread cookies because they have the main three ingredients and don’t have any leavening agents.
Linzer cookies are Austrian almond jam-filled cookies. Like shortbread cookies, these cookies are buttery sweet.
Linzer cookies also don’t have baking powder or soda, but the recipe relies mostly on eggs.
For this reason, Linzer cookies aren’t shortbread cookies because they have eggs, and the butter used is a lot less than the flour and sugar.
In addition, they’ve got a unique nutty taste because of the almond added to the dough.
Thumbprint Cookies, or Hallongrotta, are Swedish cookies. Like the Linzer cookies, these are jam-filled cookies.
In addition, they use eggs and more sugar than shortbread cookies, and they don’t use baking powder or soda.
For this reason, thumbprint cookies are more similar to Linzer cookies than shortbread cookies.
Sugar cookies aren’t shortbread cookies. The two cookies differ greatly in taste and texture.
Unlike the buttery melt-in-your-mouth consistency of shortbread cookies, sugar cookies are chewy.
In addition, sugar cookies have flour, sugar, vanilla, butter, eggs, and baking powder. For this reason, they’re not remotely like shortbread cookies.
With this in mind, they’re similar to butter cookies but spread thinner.
The main advantage of sugar cookies is that they withstand decorating with icing and sprinkles.
Unlike all the cookies mentioned, Christmas cookies aren’t a type of cookie. They’re any cookies baked for the festivities of the season.
They can be shortbread cookies or any variation of them. In addition, they can be butter cookies, Linzer cookies, thumbprint cookies, sugar cookies, or even classic chocolate chip cookies.
Historically, people baked Scottish shortbread for events like weddings and Christmas.
What are shortbread cookies?
Shortbread historically originated in Scotland. The recipe contains mainly three ingredients and no leavening agents. These three ingredients are flour, butter, and sugar.
Traditionally, these ingredients have a ratio of 1:2:3, the least being the sugar. The result is a crumbly cookie that dissolves in your mouth with each bite.
The closest to shortbread cookies are butter cookies. They share the three main ingredients with different ratios and results. However, shortbread cookies differ from regular cookies because they don’t contain eggs or baking powder, or soda.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.