Almost everyone in America has heard the children’s song, Short’nin Bread. It is unknown who wrote the lyrics, but the song originated among the slaves working on the plantations in the South in the early 1800’s. The tune is catchy, and the song has been sung not only to children but also around campfires across America since that time.
The actual words to the song vary (and have been changed over the years to be more politically correct), as well as the order of the verses. However, the gist of the song is that the doctor orders short’nin bread to heal two sick children, and it does the trick.
Short’nin bread, is a treat that the plantation cooks could whip up easily with ingredients that were readily available: butter, brown sugar, and flour. Short’nin Bread is actually shortbread, which is a type of cookie that has been popular for hundreds of years in the British Isles. The difference is that in the early South, the shortbread was made with brown sugar which gave the short’nin bread a distinctive and wonderful flavor.
This recipe is made very easily because the dough is simply patted down on a jellyroll pan, then cut into squares while it is hot. If you happen to be one of those lucky souls who has lots of time to spend in the kitchen, then you may roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (a pastry cloth with a rolling pin cover works the best) and cut it into shapes.
One of the great things about this recipe is that it needs no embellishment; it is light, delicious, and addicting just the way it is.
In case you’re trying to remember the words to the song so you can sing it while you’re serving your freshly baked short’nin bread, visit Lyrics on Demand where they’re printed out.
2 cups butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 325°.
- Line a 17 x 11.5 jellyroll pan with parchment, or spray with non-stick spray.
- In the large bowl of a mixer, cream the butter; beat in the sugar until very light and fluffy.
- Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the flour and salt, mixing until smooth. Alternately, the dough may be done by hand: make sure the butter is very soft and mix it well with the brown sugar; work the flour and salt in by hand until smooth.
- Press the dough evenly onto the prepared pan.
- Using a sharp knife and a ruler, score the dough into squares, eight on the long side of the pan by six on the shorter side.
- Immediately use the sharp knife to cut through the score marks into squares.
- Cool thoroughly before serving.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned.
The short’nin bread may be stored for months in an airtight container.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 116 Calories from Fat 70
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 60% Protein 4% Carb. 36%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 8 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Cholesterol 21 mg
Sodium 103 mg
Total Carbohydrate 10 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 1 g
Vitamin A 6% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 0% Iron 1%