Oatmeal shortbread. Photo: Pastrystudio, Flickr
Once predominantly a Christmas treat -- or, depending on where you live, perhaps associated more strongly with the festival of Hogmanay, the Scottish New Year's Eve -- these buttery cookies are a welcome bite year-round, satiating both sweet and savory cravings.
Taking cue in shape from the traditional Scottish bannock, a griddle cake of oatmeal and barley, shortbread also followed its predecessor in avoiding an overly saccharine taste. Traditionally baked in an ornate, earthenware mold, the cookies would be often be perforated to be broken into individual pieces, as popularized by Walkers Shortbread.
Today, shortbread still frequently takes a circular form, but its flavors have diversified significantly, from sweet to savory. If you're feeling adventurous, perhaps these savory Parmesan-Rosemary Shortbread Rounds or the Oatmeal Shortbread pictured above will pique your interest.
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