Food is such a huge part of Christmas festivities and celebrations! Tasty treats are also a big part of our time with the Yule Log. Each Monday we get together to review our plans for our podcast and discuss the previous and upcoming week ideas. These meetings usually include some type of sweet treat. Our most regular choice is shortbread cookies! These great tasting cookies are a regular at Christmas time, but is there some type of true Christmas connection?
Traditional shortbread was first created in Scotland and is widely associated with the U.K. Shortbread is a simple combination of sugar, butter, and flour. It is really a bread, more accurately a biscuit. It is unleavened and finishes firm, some might even say hard. The way the bread holds its shape during cooking is part of why it is a popular holiday choice. Shortbread dates back to the 12th century and really took off in the 16th century. It was quite an expensive indulgence for the common person. This is where the connection to Christmas comes in. People would save throughout the year to splurge for the treats on Christmas. Bakers and merchants linked to this practice and today we see the increased marketing at that time of the year. (Natalie and I like shortbread ALL year, not just Christmas!)
If you want to bake your own shortbread there are hundreds of recipes available online. I picked three that Natalie and I plan to try in the coming weeks. From Allrecipes.com we have Vel’s Christmas shortbread, a simple 3 ingredient recipe needing LOTS of elbow grease. Next we have Martha Stewart’s Basic Shortbread (She actually has over 30 shortbread recipes!) Finally from Taste.com we will try out Chocolate Shortbread. If you want to buy some shortbread your first choice should be Walkers Shortbread. The Scottish based and family-owned company has been making shortbread with the secret family recipe since 1898. Their products are available throughout the US at speciality stores and grocery stores. We will be sure to let you know how our baking turns out- we may even try a little baking during one of our upcoming podcasts!