The weekend was very productive. On Saturday I finished unpacking all my boxes (where did all that crap go in my old house? I could swear I haven’t seen half of it before), found the bottles of wine which were loitering in my wellies (I kid you not), overcome my utterly ridiculous aversion to the feel & noise of polystyrene, successfully fixed my blind and built a bookcase – the latter two being the most impressive, given my usual ineptitude with anything related to the letters D, I and Y. And then on Sunday I finally got a gym membership sorted and actually went. OK, so Sunday’s productivity was shot after that because I had lunch with Kat and spent the rest of the day wandering round some of the cafes and bars in town. But – shock horror – I think this means that life might be getting back to something which almost resembles normality.
Hopefully this means I might get back to a more regular cooking and blogging schedule soon, but for now I’m going to share the recipe for my cinnamon and ginger shortbread that made its tantalising debut in March’s Instagrammers Anonymous.
The weekend before I moved I was going through my kitchen seeing how I was going to fit it into a couple of boxes (it took four in the end). Whilst going through the various cupboards of pots and associated paraphernalia I realised that I had lots of little bits that really weren’t worth the space they’d require in a box. 75g of butter, the end of a bag of flour, and some cheat’s ginger (I know, I’ll go hang my head in shame) – the bits that would have been handy if I was staying put, but just weren’t worth the hassle since I wasn’t.
Loath to throw any good food away I got my baking head on to see what I could get from them. A quick consultation of my Great British Bake Off book came up with a really simple recipe for shortbread, and whilst I knew I’d end up with a tin-full of the stuff I thought I’d give it a go, and take the leftovers into the office.
I hadn’t made biscuits of any form in quite a while, so I was a little concerned – something that was not helped by a temperamental oven that burnt some and left others undercooked. Thankfully though they turned out about right and over their short – sub 48 hour – lives improved massively in the body of their flavour as the ginger matured a little.
Cinnamon and Ginger Shortbread
This recipe was adapted from the Great British Bake Off book, How to Bake. The weights are from that book, but the quantity it makes – about 35 – is an estimate, based on the scaled down amounts of each ingredient that I used. It will also depend on the thickness of your dough-sausage.
100g caster sugar
260g plain flour
40g ground almonds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1cm of ginger
1 pinch of salt
Line two baking sheets with baking paper and preheat the oven to 170ºC.
Soften the butter slightly – so it is just soft – and beat until creamy. Add the sugar gradually, and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. At this stage sift in the flour and cinnamon, then add the ground almonds, ginger and salt. Mix until all the ingredients are combined – it’s easiest to do this with your hands – and then mould the mixture into a firm sausage shape (just larger than the diameter of a £2 coin). Wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 20-30 minutes until firm.
Cut your dough into equal-sized circles and arrange on a baking sheet – remember they will expand a little, so leave about half a centimeter between them. Bake in the oven until they are golden – this should take about 20 minutes.
Once out of the oven sprinkle with caster sugar (I used icing sugar, but only because I had used all my remaining caster sugar in the dough) and then leave on the tray for a couple of minutes. After a couple of minutes, transfer the shortbread to a wire rack and all to cool fully. If you can wait that long before tucking it.
If you’re really lucky like me, someone will tell you that they “loved” the orange flavour and the “dark bits”. I’m assuming this was code for the ginger flavour and the burnt parts. My sanity is glad I moved.