Stem Ginger Shortbread
Shortbread is still a favourite and a test of a cook’s skill. Good butter is the key to a wonderful taste, while a combination of plain flour and either rice flour, ground rice or cornflour gives the crisp but short (not tough) texture.
|200g||unsalted butter, softened|
|100g||caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling|
|40g||rice flour, ground rice or cornflour|
|½ tsp||ground ginger|
|A good pinch||of salt|
|50g||chopped glacé ginger|
You will need 1-2 baking sheets, greased.
Put the soft butter into a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue to beat thoroughly until the mixture looks lighter in colour and fluffy.
Sift the flour with the rice flour (or ground rice or cornflour), ground ginger and salt into the bowl. Add the chopped ginger and work all the ingredients together with your hands until thoroughly combined. Form the dough into a log shape about 20cm long and wrap in clingfilm. Chill for 20 to 30 minutes or until firm.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas 3. Unwrap the log and slice across into 20 rounds using a large sharp knife. Arrange slightly apart on the prepared baking sheets (bake in batches if necessary).
Bake for about 20 minutes or until firm but not coloured. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with caster sugar, then leave on the baking sheets to cool and firm up for a couple of minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Store in an airtight container and eat within a week.
Speckled Chocolate Shortbread:
Make up the dough as in the main recipe above, adding ½ teaspoon vanilla extract to the butter before beating in the sugar and omitting the ground ginger and the chopped glacé ginger.
After slicing the dough into rounds, set them slightly apart on baking sheets lined with non-stick baking paper. Grate 50g well-chilled dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids) and carefully sprinkle over the tops of the shortbread rounds. Bake as in the main recipe, omitting the caster sugar sprinkling.
Make up the dough as in the main recipe above, omitting the ground ginger and chopped glacé ginger. Roughly chop 50g shelled unsalted pistachios and work into the dough with the flour mixture. Shape and bake as in the main recipe.
A great recipe for kids, use a variety of cutters to entertain them and try hearts for Valentine’s Day!