Chef Linda's Confection Commentary

Tag: essential douglas fir shortbread

The Long and [Douglas Fir] Short[bread] of It

Tiny seed cones, awash in pollen secretly giggle

at their Douglas fir moniker – a fir, no!

Deeply furrowed brows of age;

Resin blisters secret its fragrant beauty.

His Majesty presides over dappled shade,

Filtered sunlight politely suspended over its understory.



Most of us have had the experience of pushing through some imagined boundary.  Nearly all imagined boundaries are malleable enough for us to slip through. Often, the result is the delightful realization that it wasn’t a boundary at all.


Then there are the super-imposed boundaries that we have the opportunity to field and negotiate. This holiday season, the boundary is shipping. It may be fair to say that each of us has had or is currently having experience with delays in product orders and/or the shipping process. I certainly am.


Our primary goal in the upcoming holiday season is to delight you with the highest quality artisan products. Our secondary goal is to support our first goal by skillfully negotiating the national shipping quagmire, swampy as it will likely be for the foreseeable future.



Testing is complete. We have created a product with the unmistakable taste and scent of our beloved Doug Fir. It has the lovely complement of sweet lemon in the nose and the succulent mouth feel that is unmistakably shortbread.

We are taking the following steps this holiday season to deliver delight:

We’ve scaled our shortbread to a petite size that makes it extremely affordable for gift-giving. Smaller product size (in weight) carries the additional benefit of lower shipping cost.


Ground transportation is rocky nationally, and the large carriers have dissolved their previous commitments to abide by their companies’ standards. Consequentially, all orders outside Oregon/Portland Metro will require 2-day air.


The Long and Short[bread] of It

To fulfill our primary and secondary goals, we have established our Nov and Dec order, production and shipping windows. They are, as follows:

Essential Panettone, both Artisan Milanese and Northwest varieties: available for delivery in Dec only. The 1-week order window for delivery before Christmas is Sun 28-Nov through Sat 4-Dec. Shipping is the 5-day period between Tue 13-Dec and Fri 17-Dec. The only shipping option outside of Oregon is 2-day air. Oregon/Portland Metro orders will ship using ground transportation unless you specify 2-day air.

Essential Douglas Fir Shortbread. Shortbread is available for both Nov and Dec deliveries. The 1-week order window for delivery before Thanksgiving and Hannukah is Fri 29-Oct through Sat 6-Nov. The 1-week order window for delivery before Christmas is Sun, 28-Nov through Sat 4-Dec, the same as for Essential Panettone. Shipping is the 5-day period between 13-Dec and 17-Dec. The only shipping option outside of Oregon is 2-day air. Oregon/Portland Metro orders will have a flat fee.


A video launching Essential Douglas Fir Shortbread as the next in our stable of signature products is now available!


We’re hoping that a bit of deft planning results in the best of seasons.


Thank you for your continued support of Essential Confection.








Shipping Goblins are in the Air

Shipping Goblins?

A set of uncertainties may impact nationwide product delivery in the approaching holiday season.

Inconsistent availability of ingredients due to supply chain fluctuations, highly irregular inter-state delivery times and changing delivery costs are converging to impact most holiday purchases.

Personal experience abounds. A FedEx wine shipment from California took seven days to leave the state and evidently spent the next eight days moving in and out of the Portland hub with zero delivery attempts. The major issue is understaffing. FedEx is performing at 60% of normal capacity. They declared the shipment as ‘lost’ when I inquired. There has been no FedEx truck in our community for at least three weeks.

As was our practice last year, we will have specific, three-week pre-order periods for our flagship products, Essential Panettone Artisan Milanese and Essential Panettone Northwest. In an attempt to offset holiday delivery issues, we will back that order period up by, perhaps, seven days. Unless shipment services improve, we will be required to ship all out-of-state holiday products via second-day air because what is important to our guests is the value of the gift to the recipient.

Essential Holiday Tin

Our first annual holiday tin, Essential Douglas Fir Shortbread, will be available for pre-order, as well. If you wish to be on our pre-holiday list for either product, please email me directly. Specific order details for each product will follow.


Essential Confection has another pre-holiday announcement. Recipe formulation and testing for our most-special chocolate cookie is complete. Packaging, pricing and shipping details are yet to follow in a formal product launch. Our new chocolate cookie is called In+Dulge™.

Accidentally gluten-free!  Here’s a “taste” of In+Dulge™’s heavenly qualities: bittersweet 72% Guittard chocolate and a luxurious mouthfeel, punctuated with a bit of the finest flaked sea salt. In+Dulge™ will always be shipped second-day air to allow you to bake them directly from your freezer at home.


“This moment’s indulgence is tomorrow’s nostalgia.”


We will continue to proactively communicate with you as shipping goblins ebb and flow. We value our relationship with you, and will make extraordinary effort meet our commitments.


Please feel free to email with your interest in joining our pre-holiday order list.




The Aromatics of Perfume – and Shortbread

Aromatics, the inbreath of the artisanal essay,

the story of alchemy, of appetite, of desires

botanical and buttery, floral and foresty, 

of an olfactory narrative that remembers, relives, rejuvenates…


The Aromatics of Perfume and Shortbread?

Enhancing single flavor and textural development, as I often say, are my two primary drivers in recipe formulation. The luxurious mouthfeel of our fine-crumb Essential Butter Cake is made more pleasureful by the savory succulence of the finest quality Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  True, as well, is that the cotton candy texture of our Essential Artisan Milanese and Northwest varieties of panettone is the willowy structure that showcases the finest quality internal garnishes.

As promised previously, I have researched and tested flavor profiles for our new holiday 2021 offering: Essential Shortbread. In so doing, an opportunity for self-education on how our olfactory sense – the glorious sense of smell – plays the preeminent role in pleasureful food experiences, has presented itself.

Aromatics are the catalysts for the full enjoyment of flavor. Wine tasting is an obvious example. There are as many categories of aromatics for the nose as there are for tasting. On the nose, one may detect:

  • types of wood
  • red fruits, dark fruits
  • tree, citrus, tropical, stone fruits
  • earthy, savory, gamey scents
  • buttery or yeasty scents
  • green, floral, spice/nut scents
  • even secondary aromatics such as petrol and pine resin

One day while in culinary school I did a tasting of Oregon’s Clear Creek Distillery brandies – among them Clear Creek eau de vie of Douglas Fir. No kidding. That experience piqued my interest, latent until some years later, in creating the individual features of a composed dessert using the essence of Doug Fir, the iconic Pacific Northwest tree. That signature dessert will integrate into a stable of unique desserts offered by the Outsource Dessert Kitchen of our sister restaurant consulting company, Essential-Insight Advisors.

My interest in developing a flavor profile around the Douglas Fir yielded the opportunity to do an unscientific and impromptu flavor testing of Clear Creek’s beloved brandy. What was obvious in the nose was the scent of resin – a pine or fir resin, and easily identifiable. The tasting portion of the experiment yielded the unmistakable flavor of mint – spearmint – and an aftereffect of cinnamon-like warmth.

The self-education piece is related to Aftelier Perfumes in Berkeley, California. The owner, Mandy Aftel, a natural perfumer – natural meaning the use of no synthetics, parabens, glycols or petrochemicals in Aftelier’s products – produces Chef’s Essences for world-class chefs and mixologists. Her products and philosophy of scent-as-taste align closely with my own interest in flavor development. Mandy’s book with Michelin star chef Daniel Patterson, “The Art of Flavor: Practices & Principles for Creating Delicious Food”, is a handbook for learning how to cook without recipes.

Essential Confection’s holiday 2021 gift tin is Essential Douglas Fir Shortbread. We’ll be learning more about it as the fall months approach.

Essential Butter Cake is available year-round for gift-giving or for your family’s own pleasureful events. Our flagship panettone – Artisan Milanese and Northwest – will again be available by pre-order only beginning in early November.

Remembering That the Actual Purchase is the Experience…

The gift of our olfactory sense is always present. The full enjoyment of wine or confection products paradoxically reduces to the singular, simple – yet mysteriously sophisticated – experiences of smell and taste.

Gift-giving is never made more special than when your story of gratitude for others – in aromatics and in flavor – is the vehicle of thanks.

We so appreciate your continued support of Essential Confection.


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