Monday, 21 March 2016

Shortbread with (or without) Stem Ginger

Shortbread, the real thing - surely everyone loves it? Not difficult to make, and it lends itself to interesting flavourings. The option here is stem ginger (clue is in the title ...), but this shortbread without it is delicate and delightful too, I think.

This recipe takes very roughly 60 minutes to prepare including chilling, and about 25 to bake, allowing for varying ovens and depending on the size of your biscuits, as they say. Here's a very artistically posed picture of four made with the ginger:

(Well my great uncle was an artist. But not a cook.)

I like to make these small, about 5cm x 3cm, on a baking sheet but of course they can be larger and even hand-pressed into a square or round tin (for 'petticoat tails'). At the smaller size the quantity of dough makes 25 or so. Either way, the baking sheet or tin is best lined with parchment.

Shortbread with Stem Ginger
120g plain flour
55g semolina flour
60g caster sugar
120g butter, softened a little
4 pieces of stem ginger, chopped fairly finely

1  Sift the two flours into a medium bowl. Add 50g of the caster sugar, the butter and 
         3/4 of the ginger, and blend together. Then knead the dough on a floured board 
         (or with dough hook) until smooth. Rest in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
2  Roll out or press the dough to a thickness of about 7-8mm, and cut into pieces of the
         size of your choice. Rectangles are traditional and easier to avoid waste than if
         you choose circles.
3  Place the pieces, a little apart from one another, on the baking sheet and prick each
         2-3 times with a fork. Press one small piece of the remaining ginger into the top
         of each.
Bake for about 25-28 minutes until firm and golden brown, watching carefully for the
         final few minutes.
Leave on the baking sheet to cool a little, then sprinkle with the remaining 10g of caster
         sugar. Cool completely and store in a tin.

No ginger on top of these
Instead of stem ginger, I fancy using dried lavender next time, since it's lovely in muffins and creme brulee. Not a fan of millionaire's shortbread, but a pattern of thin lines of flavoured icing piped over the biscuits could work well. Thinking strawberry, lemon or orange. Or, for special occasions (e.g. Easter), the biscuits could be a little bigger and have a name piped on each. To be dry, you could pipe 'biscuit' on them.


  1. Maybe I should try to do something like this with grandchildren - we'd have fun, and might make something edible!

  2. Great idea, Jo. The children could use one of those ready-to-pipe tubes of coloured icing to add their own names. Not that I've tried them or anything.