Shortbread is a sweet that’s steeped in tradition, so it’s fitting that we have our own selection of “bite-sized” stories about Rose’s Shortbread. Here’s another one of our favourites from our family’s long history of shortbread-making:
In Scotland, shortbread is the sweet gift of choice for Hogmanay (also known as New Year’s Eve). Here in Canada, however, shortbread and Christmas go together like turkey and cranberry sauce.
We’re always at our busiest baking shortbread for parties and gifts in the weeks leading up to late December, and these days we keep a strict baking schedule to make sure everyone’s orders are met. When we were first starting out, dhowever, it was a different story.
Several years ago, I had three huge last-minute orders for shortbread in the week before Christmas. We managed to get two of them out, but the last one had me baking pan after pan of shortbread in the oven long into the night.
There’s something comforting in baking shortbread at night: the warmth of the oven, the soft glow from the oven light, the smell of caramelizing sugar…
There’s something comforting in baking shortbread at night: the warmth of the oven, the soft glow from the oven light, the smell of caramelizing sugar… after a day of baking, cutting, and packaging shortbread, these factors combine to have a very soothing effect. So it was that at 3 AM, halfway through a last-minute order, I nodded off while sitting in front of my oven.
Some time later, I was shaken awake by my worried husband, the sound of the oven timer going off, and the smell of burning shortbread. Thankfully, nothing actually caught fire and only a pan or two were burned. I went up to bed to get some sleep that wasn’t in front of an oven full of burning shortbread, and we prepared the rest of the order the following morning, still getting it out in time for our client’s party.
Little adventures like these are why, during busy times like December, we keep strict schedules to make sure we get every order out on time. I carefully budget time for baking shortbread, packaging, and yes, sleeping, so not a single batch is wasted; burned shortbread is a sad occasion for everyone involved.