Shortbread Showdown

Time for a shortbread showdown. There are a number of brands out there, but is there a difference between them? Let’s find out.

First, I have to say that one of my favorite teatime treats is shortbread. It goes equally well with black tea (brewed strong and smoothed with milk and sweetener) as well as with green tea. I’ve even had it with white tea. Sometimes I dunk, but usually not. It’s so tasty on its own and inspires the poet in me:

Shortbread at breakfast.
Shortbread at lunch.
Shortbread at teatime.
Love it a bunch!

So, you ask, why are these items so tasty? In a day and age when New York City is banning trans fats and salt, when the push is on against obesity, and when the Atkins diet vilifying carbohydrates hasn’t quite yet faded away, people still go for something that tastes good. One thing I learned while seeking to drop a few pounds (or 10…uh, 20…okay, it was 45) was that part of the trick of not overeating is to feel satisfied with what you’ve eaten. And the best way to feel satisfied, I found, was to have a bit of fat. Butter is an excellent source of fat, but having a tablespoon of butter isn’t very appetizing. However, shortbread contains lots of butter (according the package I have, half the calories are from fat), so one shortbread finger with tea was not only appetizing but very satisfying.

Showdown time: all shortbread is not made alike. Some of the top brands vary in quality and taste, sometimes quite a bit, since some makers have switched to margarine instead of butter (my tastebuds can’t be fooled). One of the tried and true brands is Walkers, making shortbread with the finest ingredients since 1898. They have never skimped on quality down through the generations, and their workers (some of whom have been with the company for generations) take great pride in this.

Another brand that’s been around awhile is Border’s. Their shortbread recipe is the same one they have used for many ages. Buttery and light and in a variety of shapes, including the traditional Petticoat Tails, Border’s shortbread satisfies with rich taste that goes well with your tea. Don’t miss the “Legend of the Thistle” series, plain or with chocolate chips, in packages decorated with images traditional to Scotland: the thistle (the national flower), Eilean Donan Castle, Robert Burns (Scotland’s most famed poet), and of course pipers playing those wailing bagpipes.

Border's Petticoat Tails

Of course, you can make your own shortbread, following the traditional recipe that calls for butter, sugar, flour, and ground rice (yes, I said “rice”!). Then, you’ll certainly know the quality of the ingredients in what you’re eating. Unfortunately, if you’re like me, the shortbread might not taste as good, if it’s even edible. I have an idea…I’ll get my hubby to bake some. Then, I’ll know they’ll be yummy!

Whichever store brand you choose or even if you make your own, shortbread is a real companion to your tea. Enjoy!

Note: Please check the ingredients listed for potential allergens (nuts, milk, soy, wheat, gluten).

Just like shortbread, A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill, is sure to satisfy!

One thought on “Shortbread Showdown

  1. Good call on the butter– those Walkers’ shortbread fingers are like eating sticks of butter. I got coldcocked by the percentages on the nutrition panel, but you really can get full just eating two of the things with a nice bracing cup of black tea.

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