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Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunchies and Crunchies: Disney Parks Shortbread Rounds

24 June 2012

With the conclusion of Brave week on, we'll take a look at an easy-to-find Disney theme parks snack you can enjoy when you get the chance to see Pixar's animated epic fantasy set in the Highlands of Scotland. I have had the great fortune to see Brave at its midnight premiere and other than enjoy the movie, my mission was to see what types of food would be featured in the film. Being a baker, my eye caught the plate of pastries seen below in this dinner scene.

Image from the Orlando Sentinel

These pastries actually show up quite frequently throughout the film as they are constantly snatched, swiped, and stolen by Merida and her three brothers Hubert, Hammish, and Harris (read more about them in last week's Who's Who Wednesday). While researching Scottish foods, I came across a modern day, but traditional Scottish dessert called the Empire biscuit.

This jam filled biscuit sandwich look very similar to the sweet pastries the DunBroch children would feast on, complete with the dollop of sugar frosting and a red jam garnish. In Brave, these desserts are more of a fluffy cake or bread like pastry while modern day Empire biscuits are cookies. While these specific cookies are popular in Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, another Scottish cookie popular around the world and Disney World is the Shortbread Round.

Disney offers a wide variety of sizes from snack box to take home tin

Shortbread is actually more of a cookie than bread and originated in Scotland, hence the plaid packaging. Shortbread is the biscuit used in the Empire biscuit and is probably one of the easiest cookies to make yourself at home. Its recipe in its most basic form is as easy as 1-2-3: use one part sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour. The high amount of butter is what makes it 'short' in that it creates a crumbly texture by 'shortening' the strands of molecules called gluten found in flour that are developed when mixing any flour dough.

The Disney Shortbread Rounds are authentic Scottish products, as seen by the Walkers stamp, the leading brand of Shortbread in Scotland

If you've been to any Disney theme park gift shop, you've surely seen the wee little tartan packages holding some of Disney parks most delicious prepackaged cookies. Available as plain shortbread rounds or chocolate dipped, these cookies are simply delicious. Crumbly in texture with a rich buttery flavor, they have a simple, but distinct cookie flavor. They bring me back to my childhood when my parents would bring home the blue round tin of Dansk brand gourmet shortbread cookies in a variety of shapes. At Disney, they come in rounds stamped with Mickey's face. These cookies are terrific as prepackaged snacks go; not only are they fun and great tasting, their shelf life (about 1 year) makes them terrific take home souvenirs to share with friends and family.

After all this discussion on shortbread, I'm sure you're wondering'if it's a cookie, why is it called bread? Shortbread actually was a bread product before it became an unleavened biscuit or cookie. The leavening ingredient yeast was over time replaced with butter, a luxury ingredient emerging in marketplaces all over the UK. The shortbread we know today was developed in Scotland during the 12th Century and refined by Queen Mary of Scots in the 16th Century. Brave actually takes place a century before in the 11th Century, so Pixar animators score extra points for historical accuracy as the desserts Merida and her brothers are eating bread like pastries rather than cookies.


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