Q: I’ve been searching relentlessly for Butter Blossoms: It was a mother-daughter team, who had a super successful Etsy business back sometime around 2010 or so. I bought cookies from them, and had cookies shipped all over the U.S. to my friends and family. They had the best shortbread cookie I ever tasted. I've tried well over 50 recipes, and can’t seem to come close to what I remember theirs being.
A: In the movies, reporters are fond of smoky bars and bourbon served neat. That’s accurate, but what reporters really like are unusual names, which make sleuthing easy. According to my 2013 brief about Etsy sensation Butter Blossoms opening a small retail location in West Ashley, the bakery was owned by Emily Herr and her mother, Shell DiTullio. Score.
DiTullio remains active on Etsy, but she’s selling decals and Christmas decorations, not cookies. Still, she wasn’t willing to divulge any shortbread secrets.
“My daughter wants to sell her shortbread cookies in the future, so she is not going to be able to share her recipe,” DiTullio wrote when reached through the crafting site. “There are lots of current shortbread cookie sellers on Etsy, so perhaps one of those would be willing to share their recipe!”
Since you’ve already struck out with 50 recipes, my guess is another recipe from an untested source won’t do you much good. But DiTullio is right that shortbread is a hugely popular side hustle for home bakers without storefronts: In addition to the many Etsy operations she mentioned, I found lots of freelancers in the Charleston area offering custom-order shortbread.
But it’s the definition of a risky proposition to invest in baked goods that you can’t see or taste in advance (and pictures on Instagram don’t count, as I discovered when I tried ordering a box of shortbread from a local baker whose business is exclusively online: The cookies were small, dry, bland and expensive.)
So your current local bet is probably an established bakery. The problem is very few bakeries here stock shortbread on a daily basis, although you could place a special order at Twenty Six Divine or Gala Desserts.
For immediate shortbread satisfaction, one excellent option is Luckhaus & Brubaker Sweets & Treats. The James Island bakery frequently switches up its shortbread flavors, but I was suitably impressed by a pistachio shortbread I sampled to confirm my recollection: Its shortbread is sandy and rich, and tastes of good butter.
In fact, the latter might be more crucial than the right recipe: When a cookie has just three ingredients, the quality of them is apparent. But since I doubt you want to restart your shortbread trials: Luckhaus & Brubaker is located at 1939 Maybank Hwy.