Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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shortbread a biscuit whose origin lies in the ‘short cakes’ made in the 16th century (see biscuit). In Britain it is regarded as a particular speciality of Scotland, although similar biscuits, such as shrewsbury cakes, are made elsewhere. The original Scottish shortbread is simply a thick layer of rich, sweetened shortcrust pastry, without any extra flavourings. The texture is delicately crumbly. It relies on the quality of the ingredients for its mild but satisfying flavour. The classic proportions of ingredients for a shortbread recipe are one part sugar to two of butter and three of flour. It may be slightly adjusted by varying the type of flour used; usually soft cake flour is chosen, which is further softened in some Scottish recipes by adding some rice flour.