Shortbread typically conjures images of deep cups of weak tea and acres of tartan. It’s one of Scotland’s great claims to dessert fame, but in this country it tends to languish in the shadows cast by the more popular members of the cookie family, the subtlety of its crumbly, buttery charms no match for the mass appeal of the mighty chocolate chip. But if any bakery can elevate shortbread to the glory it deserves, it’s SCRATCHbread.
While shortbread — at least the mass-produced stuff — is typically of the thin and flat variety, SCRATCHbread’s is a rectangle of such hefty proportions it could be used as a doorstop. But its brawn belies its delicacy: Purposely a bit under-baked, it’s got a melting, crumbly texture. Made with plenty of high-fat Plugras butter, it’s so rich that it’s almost more cake than cookie, and it all but gets down on its knees to beg for a cup of black tea — or a few spoonfuls of tart lemon curd. But it’s none too shabby eaten on its own: Between its geometry and the abundance of its main ingredient, it brings to mind the Genius Edition of a stick of butter. Which makes it a true Fat Pants dessert, more than worthy of an elastic waistband or a very long drawstring.
Although SCRATCHbread’s Matthew Tilden is in the process of opening his own bakery, for now his products are available at stores and coffee shops throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan. This piece of shortbread was purchased from the friendly folks at Park Slope’s Blue Apron Foods for $1.95 — very good value for priceless satisfaction.
Blue Apron Foods
814 Union Street, Brooklyn