Shortbread Bake-off

Mid-Maryland Celtic Festival’s Third Annual Shortbread Bake-Off


2018 Winners!

Congratulations to the winner’s of the 2018 Shortbread Bake-off!
The winners in the Traditional category are:
1st Place – Mary Jo H.
2nd Place – Anne R.
3rd Place – Caroline B.
The winners in the Creative category are: 
1st Place – Anne R.
2nd Place – Rachel M.
3rd Place – Betsy H-W.
A big thank you goes out to all 29 bakers who entered the 3rd Annual Shortbread Bake-off!


2018 Judges

Chris Spruill, SASMM President

Ms. Tracy Jones, Owner, The Buzz

Jan Dofner from  Hero Dogs—our 2018 Charity

2017 Results!

Winners were:

Traditional Category               Creative Category

1st  Gwendolyn Y.                   1st Micha W.

2nd  Micha W.                         2nd  Dana C.

3rd  Maryann C.                       3rd Missy M.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be recognized and rewarded for your baking expertise and talent for creating scrumptious award winning shortbread!

Enter the 3rd Annual Shortbread Bake-Off!

Sign-in and submit shortbread entries to Rose Van Camp on June 16, 2018 between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. in Pavilion 4

(near the Dance Stage) in the Highlands between Craftmeisters and Family Name Histories.

Deadline submission for the bake-off is 11:00am.

Traditional and Creative Short-bread will be judged on ​Taste, Texture, Design, Shape, and Appearance.

Each shortbread bake-off  entrant person will receive one of  three festival souvenirs.

Only one souvenir per person regardless of the number of entries. Quantities of each are limited.

Prizes awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the Traditional and Creative categories.



Traditional Category

Shortbread made from white sugar, butter, and flour and  shaped into a cookie including petticoats, tails, and fingers and typically a recipe that is a standard and known by other shortbread bakers.


Creative Category 

Shortbread reflects the baker’s imagination and personal baking style and often reflects the spirit of the Celts.  It includes any deviation from the traditional shortbread description provided above. 



Contestants must be amateurs.  Professional bakers, chefs and cooks are requested to refrain from entering.

Submissions must be home baked (not store bought).

How do I enter my shortbread?

-Entries should be submitted on a disposable plate that is placed in a disposable sealed container (could be a zip-lock bag) or just in a disposal container.

– Entries must contain six (6) pieces of shortbread (per entry).

– Each entry must be in a separate container.

Contestants may enter in one or both categories and as many times as they choose but may only place once in each category.

-Those who plan to enter the bake-off are requested to please email in advance to help with planning.  Please include (1) your  name and (2) the categories you plan to enter.                                   

– Contestants may submit the day of the bake-off even if they do not complete the email entry form.

– Contestants may work individually or with a team. (Prizes will be awarded for each entry and not to each individual of a team entry.)

– Contestants may email questions to

Who are the Judges?

The entries will be judged by a panel of three judges whose decision is final:

Who Won???

 Prizes will be awarded the day of the bake-off.

All entries become property of the Mid-Maryland Celtic Festival.

What exactly is shortbread?

 What makes it short? Is it bread?

Shortbread originated in Scotland. Shortbread is referred to as a biscuit in the United Kingdom. Here in the United States, we would call it a cookie. Shortbread’s basic ingredients are butter, sugar and flour. The texture of shortbread is crisp. Hold a piece of shortbread with two hands. When you break it, the cookie “snaps”. Due to its’ texture, the cookies has the ability to snap; hence, the source of “short” in shortbread.

Keeping with this type of texture, add yeast and you have the beginning of short cakes. The yeast in these early cakes could result in an uneven rise. Any skilled Baker could fix this by pricking the surface of the cake (also called ‘docking’). Fast forward to the new Millennium and many modern Bakers kept the pricked holes for decorating shortbread.

Short cakes were eaten across Great Britain and many local biscuits are variations on the basic recipe (Shrewsbury cakes or Goosnargh cakes). However, Shortbread has a strong association with Scotland. The best are exported worldwide. Take a peek at your local store. You’ll find delightful tins of Walkers Shortbread—a family owned and family managed bakery since 1898 and Scotland’s largest food exporter.

Now what about the “bread” in shortbread? Going back in time, the word “bread” has been used to refer to cakes. Today’s cakes derive from sweetened, yeast-risen breads. There is one story that explains the use of the word “shortbread.” A group of Scottish bakers used the word “shortbread” to argue a case against paying the government’s tax on biscuits. To this day, the United Kingdom has a law that prevents tax on biscuits and cakes. Chocolate on those biscuits? You pay tax. Chocolate covered biscuits are considered luxuries—thus the luxury tax.

Shortbread has stood the test of time. Mary, Queen of Scots, enjoyed her shortbread thin with caraway seeds. Today it makes a great souvenir of your trip to Scotland. Shortbread is no longer a delicacy saved for special occasions or holidays. You can buy the basic ingredients at the grocery store and whip up a batch or buy a box of Walkers Shortbread at your local store.


2016 Results!!!

1st Place Becky Halbe
2nd Place Barbara Collins
3rd Place Becky Halbe
1st Place Becky Halbe



Let’s get busy baking!!


Walkers has been a proud supporter of the St. Andrew’s Society of Mid-Maryland and its annual Mid-Maryland Celtic Festival for a decade!