As you probably know by now, we here in the Muddy's Kitchen make some pretty mean butter cookies. Sometimes we call them "shortbreadish," and maybe even occasionally slip up and call them "shortbread." But shortbread they are not. This means that we in the Muddy's family occasionally encounter the question, "What's the difference between a shortbread cookie and a butter cookie?" And a very good question that is!
Shortbread cookies have a rich history (no pun intended), originating in Scotland as early as the 12th century. The name references its high quantity of "shortening," in this case, butter. Shortbread contains so much butter, in fact, that the sweetness of the sugar content plays second fiddle to the buttery taste. Another delicious downfall of such a butter-rich cookie is its tendency to crumble, making it less than ideal for creating the beautiful cut-out cookies you expect from a bakery of Muddy's caliber. In fact, the dough is often pressed into pans and then cut into bars after baking. It's a yummy treat upon occasion but, quite frankly, it is not the prettiest nor the sweetest.
But back to Muddy's famous butter cookies! Butter cookies are very similar to shortbread, with the main variation being an increase in sugar. In addition to making them taste awesome, the higher ratio of sugar to butter means a butter cookie is cookie-cutter-ready and bakes beautifully without any tendency to crumble. However, it still maintains a high enough quantity of butter to retain the richness and butteriness of shortbread. I think it's pretty clear who wins this cookie showdown.
Another difference between shortbread and butter cookies is the baking method and what this means for flavor. Shortbread aficionados are adamant that shortbread be baked low and slow, preserving its light color to the end. You want that additional sugar in a butter cookie to caramelize a bit, however, so it is baked at a higher temperature.
So now that you know the difference between shortbread and butter cookies, I hope you understand why we at Muddy's decided to specialize in the latter. Between its ability to hold its shape and bake beautifully, and its delicious hint of caramelized sugar, our butter cookie recipe is an addiction we're happy to frequently indulge in here in the Muddy's family. We encourage you to order yourself a dozen or two and see for yourself why this is one of our bestselling cookies in all its many forms! Click below on the butter cookie of your choice.