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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Creating a holiday tradition with Scottish shortbread

Scottish shortbread from my kitchen

By Scott Beveridge

There wasn’t much time for creating holiday food traditions in our working-class family while I was growing up in the 1960s in the Monongahela River Valley in Pennsylvania.

The daily routine for my parents centered more on how to pay the bills and put dinner on the table rather than ensuring Christmas dining traditions were created or those of our ancestor were honored.

My mother worked full time when most women she knew at the time were 1950s versions of stay-at-home moms. Truth be told, she didn’t like to cook, either, and strived to be a modern woman of her era.

It was time about a decade ago that I decided to create some holiday traditions in my house, and that led me to bake shortbreads. My mom loved this cookie. So I turned to a friend Mary to teach me how to bake cookies. This one only contains five ingredients and it's not that difficult to pull off.

Shortbread is a holiday tradition associated with Christmas in Scotland, and I love its simple, buttery flavor. This shortbread recipe isn't much different than any others that can be found online or in your grandmother's kitchen.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Whisk salt into flour and set aside. In another bowl, mix the butter until creamy, add the sugar and beat until smooth; add vanilla. Slowly fold in the flour, shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 1/4-inch thick. Use cookie cutters to create shapes and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until the cookies turn golden brown around the edges. Cool on wire rack.

This story first appeared in Living Washington County magazine published by the Observer-Reporter.