Crystallized Ginger Shortbread

When butter meets crystallized ginger, wonderful things happen.


crystallized ginger shortbread cookiesEven though the holidays are all about excess, there is something so lovely about a simple roast, a simple side of brussels sprouts, a simple cookie. I’m not talking about ascetic – just simple. I started imagining these cookie when the email went out about the annual cookie swap at work. If you’ve never been part of a cookie swap, find a way to fix that and fast It is one of life’s charming pleasures, to bring a big batch or two of homemade cookies somewhere, trade most of them away, and leave with an assortment of goodies that amounts to WAY more than you would ever have endeavored to do on your own.

I come from a long and proud line of ginger fans, and while my gingersnaps are a perennial holiday must, I was just in the mood to celebrate butter as well. Butter. What can one say about butter? Everything good. In cooking I am an equal opportunity fat player – oils, butter, different things for different dishes. When it comes to baking: Butter.

So some sticks of butter and a container of crystallized ginger both looked at me, and looked at each other, and sparks flew.

Makes about 30 cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting the counter
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar. Beat in the salt, then the flour, and then the vanilla. Finally beat in the crystallized ginger. The dough will appear crumbly but then hold together when you ores it into a ball.

3. Please a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter and place the dough on the plastic wrap. Press down the dough so that it forms a rough rectangular shape on the plastic wrap, about 1-inch thick. Cover the dough with another piece of plastic wrap, transfer it to a rimmed baking sheet and place it in the refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes, until it firms up slightly.

4. Lightly dust a clean surface with flour, and transfer the dough to the surface Dust the top very lightly with flour. Roll out the dough so that it is 1/3 to ½-inch thick . Use a 2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter to cut circles and place them about ½-inch apart on the rimmed baking sheet. The scraps can be collected and re-rolled to cut more cookies.

5. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until just very slightly colored. Remove the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.

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