I used to make shortbread years ago when I lived with a Highlander. I lost the recipe, then found this almost identical recipe by Abigail Johnson Dodge online at www.finecooking.com. Ginger adds a wonderful spark of flavor to what is otherwise a somewhat bland treat. I have now made it four times, so have tweaked the recipe here and thee, both as to proportions and the method.
This recipe takes ten minutes to prep, 30-40 minutes to bake, and makes 20 bars or 12 wedges.
325g (2½ cups) unbleached all-purpose flour OR gluten-free flour mix (or half-and-half)
15g (2 Tbsp) cornflour
4g (1 tsp) salt
150g (Generous cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small chunks
100g (4 oz, scant cup) icing (confectioner’s) sugar
35g finely chopped or grated crystallized ginger, finely chopped
10g (2 tsp) ground ginger
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract or paste
1-2 fl oz almond milk (or any milk, really)
Extra butter or oil spray such as Pam for greasing the pans
1. For rectangular bars, lightly grease the bottom of two 8” x 8” baking pans. For wedges, lightly grease one 9” spring form pan (with removable ring).
2. Combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, pulse 2-3 times.
3. Add the sugar, ginger, and butter. Pulse until the mixture looks like porridge oats. Add a dollop of plant milk and pulse again. Keep doing that until the dough starts to form clumps.
4. Turn the dough out into the prepared pan (if making bars, divide the dough between the two 8” x 8” pans). Using lightly floured fingertips, press the dough into the pan(s) to form an even layer.
For rectangular bars, use a knife to cut the dough all the way through into 20 bars. With the tines of a fork, prick each bar twice all the way through, spacing the holes evenly and on the diagonal. Lightly flour the tines as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking.
For wedges, cut each pan of dough all the way through to form 12 wedges. With the tines of a fork, prick the wedges three times all the way through, spacing the holes evenly over the dough. [Once the dough is cut, it can be chilled for a day or frozen for a month.]
5. Freeze the dough while heating the oven to 325°F.
6. Bake the dough, rotating the pan(s) halfway through, until the top(s) looks dry and golden-brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pan(s) to a rack. Using a knife, immediately re-cut the cookies along the lines. Cool completely before removing them from the pan(s).
7. Store in an airtight container, with parchment between the layers.