Ginger and Apricot Shortbread
Ginger and Apricot Shortbread.
Quick and easy and makes very little mess.
For years now Mother Hen has made the most amazing ginger biscuits, forget the branded shop versions, hers are totally to die for. Everything you expect, light, crunchy, chewy, a gingery zing and soaks up just the right amount of tea. Anyone who’s tried one knows what I mean – but do you think I can prize this recipe out of her? Can I heck! I know I’ll be handed it one day, in ceremonious heirloom revelry on a red plump velvet cushion… so until then, I’ve been in search of something else for a sweet gingery hit.
No point trying to recreate “the” biscuit so opted for something else – a shortbread.
One of my favourite things to do of an afternoon is curl up with a warm drink and a good cook book. I love browsing the pages and pictures looking for inspiration. For me, this is one medium that is better off in it’s original hard copy format.
I came across this recipe in a book from the Great British Bake Off. I’ve left the original recipe on the left (yummy – I’ve made it) and put my adapted version on the right, so you can choose which one you’d like to make. (The methods are pretty much the same – see below).
Good butter is the key to this recipe for flavour and rice or cornflour to give a crisp and short texture.
Stem ginger and apricot shortbread –
Adapted recipe from the from the Great British Bake Off cookbook.
Prep time: 15mins
Chill time: 30mins
Cooking time: 20mins + cooling time
Original Mellow Ground Version
200g Butter (Unsalted) Room temperature 200g Butter (Unsalted) Room temperature
100g Caster sugar (+ extra for sprinkling) 100g Caster sugar (+extra for sprinkling)
260g Plain Flour 260g Plain Flour
40g Rice Flour (or ground rice or cornflour) 40g Rice Flour (or ground rice or cornflour)
½tsp Ground ginger 1tsp Ground ginger *
50g Stem ginger (glace) 50g Stem ginger (glace) and 4 or 5 dried Apricots**
* a note on ginger – it’s like Marmite, love it or hate it – people are often divided on how strong it should be. Some like just a hint, others a real kick; me, I like to be able to taste it and be left with a zing, but not blow my head off. You’ll find the original recipe on the left quite mild, so for mine I increased the ground ginger quantity by 1/2 tsp.
** a few words on dried apricots– I have a personal preference for Crazy Jacks organic ones, much darker in colour (almost brown), richer in flavour – more caramel notes and dried in the sunshine. I’ll choose these every time over the bright orange versions sold in shops preserved with sulphur (or sulfur) dioxide and coated in a veg oil.
1. Finely chop the stem ginger and dried apricots and set aside. Tip; I find kitchen scissors a great way to chop up dried fruit
2.Cream the butter in a large bowl with a hand held mixer (hardly seems worth getting a stand mixer dirty for this), or a wooden spoon and good old elbow grease if you prefer, until lighter in colour and softer in texture. Next add the sugar and continue to mix until light and fluffy.
3.Sieve together over the bowl the flours, salt and ground ginger and then add the chopped ginger (and apricots if using). Bring all this together with your hands to form a dough. Don’t over work it as you want your shortbread to be light and melt in the mouth.
4.Roll into a sausage shape and wrap in clingfilm.Chill this in the fridge for 30 minutes. If you intend to roll the dough to cut out shapes then 15 minutes is best. Roll out, stamp shapes, and refrigerate shapes for 15mins. This helps the dough keep it’s shape in the oven. If it gets too warm it’ll spread as it bakes.
Make a brew. Take 5.
5.Once 30mins or more has passed preheat the oven to 170oC and grease 1 large or 2 smaller baking sheets with butter.
6.Cut 0.5cm slices off the log roll and arrange on baking sheets
OR take pre cut shapes out of the fridge and arrange on baking sheets
7.Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes until firm but not coloured. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with caster sugar then allow to stand for a few minutes to firm up. Carefully lift onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
Tip; Dark chocolate and ginger are a wickedly delicious combination; try melting some dark chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a gently steaming pan of water (not too hot or the chocolate will seize) and dipping half your cooled biscuits in and allowing to set before munching.
Tip; Mix up the flavours, try bashed up (shelled!) unsalted pistachios in place of the ground and stem ginger, chocolate chips or whatever else takes your fancy. Get creative and share them 🙂