The confections turned out by the Vermont Shortbread Company of Huntington are made with "butter, flour, sugar, love, imagination and tender care." So reads the ingredients list on the labels of the "traditional," almond and raspberry-jam varieties by master mixer Ann Zuccardy.
Zuccardy developed her special shortbread recipe in 1996 and peddled the baked goods on a small scale until 2005. That spring she launched a blog to promote her business, and in December, worked with her husband to add a commercial kitchen to their home. She also sends out a monthly e-zine about her shortbread. Although she still works at IBM as a senior technical writer, it's clear that she's shooting for serious shortbread success. She's hired a second baker to handle holiday orders that get shipped all over the U.S.
Zuccardy makes her treats in two different sizes. The smaller "shorties" come individually wrapped in plastic. Each one could be a perfect dessert for one person or a tea-time snack for two. Medium gold with a buttery aroma and flavor, the shorties are crisp throughout.
The larger, 8-inch rounds are scored into eight serving-sized wedges - traditionally called "petticoat tails." The shortbread is baked in a decorative mold that imprints a pretty pattern on one side. It arrives on rustic gingham-print tissue in a dark green box, with cellophane around the cookie to keep it from drying out.
The wedges are more tender than the shorties, particularly towards the center. At the edges, the gold darkens to light brown, and the flavor is more caramelized and complex. It's fun to bite into different parts of the shortbread and find that it tastes slightly different each time. All three shortbread flavors are delicious.
To order or for more information, visit the website at http://www.vermontshortbread.com . Flavors include the three listed above, plus brown-sugar spice, chocolate, strawberry jam, lemon curd and walnut-cinnamon.