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Traditional Scottish desserts

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Shortbread is a traditional Scottish dessert that's been around for hundreds of years. One woman is putting her own twist on the traditional dessert with her Made in Vermont shortbread.

Debra Townsend loves being in the kitchen re-creating her mom's traditional Scottish shortbread recipe for her business Douglas Sweets.

"It's like a really buttery sugar cookie but dryer than a sugar cookie," said Townsend.

It's the way shortbread is supposed to be, buttery yet balanced and sturdy yet delicate. The recipe, which involves lots of butter, wheat flour and rice flour is one that Townsend has made her entire life.

"She made it up! She made it up," said Townsend.

Her mom came up with it out of necessity when she moved from Scotland to the United States.

"From the old country to here, there was no shortbread that she liked. She had to bring it over from the old country so her and my uncle got together and they figured it out," said Townsend.

The cookies are named Douglas Sweets after her mom's last name.

Townsend took the road less traveled to get to this point. In 2008 she was home schooling her four kids and decided to take them on a two year trip around the world.

"We hit all but one continent," said Townsend.

"We left, traveled around the world and when we got back I had no money left. I was tapped out," said Townsend.

The family came back during the recession and had to live with friends and that's when something sweet happened.

"We got back and I started baking this more out of comfort than anything and one of my friends said why don't we dip it in chocolate and spice it up and Douglas Sweets was born," said Townsend.

From selling out at the Richmond Christmas market her first month in business to now selling more than $10,000 Douglas Sweet cookies a week the business is growing every day. Her kids help whenever they're home and Townsend is looking for commercial space to move into.

She says one of her secrets is not only baking the sweets, but then using a special heat drying oven for each batch.

And although she offers the traditional plain shortbread, Townsend also puts her own unique twist on mom's recipe with flavors like Earl Grey and Orange Zest, Pistachio, Lavender, Lime and Coconut. Many of the confections are also dipped in Belgium chocolate.

Reporter Gina Bullard: What does your mom, the traditionalist, think of all these varieties?

Townsend: She loves it now, she's gotten used to it. It wasn't something she thought would go anywhere.

Traditional Scottish shortbread cookies on a Made in Vermont journey.

Douglas Sweets is also coming out with a line of tea this month that pairs perfectly with the cookies.

You can find the shortbread in many stores and co-ops throughout the state and online. It costs around $11 for a box of 10 cookies.

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