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.

Ginger and Apricot Shortbreads

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 –       Vegetarian

Adapted recipe from the from the Great British Bake Off cookbook.

Makes 20
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.20131214_200106Chill 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.

20131214_200259

20131214_201324

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

20131214_203827


 

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.

 

Ginger and Apricot Shortbread

Store in a airtight container and eat within a week. 

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 🙂

Advertisements

One Comment on “Ginger and Apricot Shortbread

  1. Pingback: Love your leftovers! | Mellow Ground

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: