When you find yourself going back into the kitchen to see if there are any crumbs left on the plate, you know you have a winning recipe; I think this is now my absolute favorite shortbread. Adding in some citric acid gives a seriously tangy punch to these buttery-rich bites.
Note: I find that a pair of kitchen shears is much easier to work with than a knife for cutting up sticky crystallized ginger.
3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 scraped vanilla beans or 2 t. pure vanilla extract
3/4 t. salt
1 lime, zest and juice
1 t. citric acid (optional)
1 T rosewater
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 c. crystallized ginger, chopped fine
edible flowers, pressed flat (this can be done over a few weeks in the pages of a book, or done quickly in a microwave or with an iron — google for instructions on those processes)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar; add the vanilla and salt, citric acid, lime juice, lime zest, and rosewater. Then add flour and mix on low until dough forms. Stir in ginger.
3. Turn out dough onto floured board. (If it’s not coming together into a dough, the heat of your hands will help.) Firmly pat flat (to desired cookie height, usually about 1/2 inch). If using cookie cutters, cut out shapes, place on parchment-covered baking sheet, and chill for 15 minutes (to help hold shape).
NOTE: Can be kept chilled at this point for several days, covered in plastic wrap, and then rolled, cut, and baked fresh.
Alternately, press into baking pan or shortbread mold, prick with fork. You can also cut shapes out after baking — shortbread is very forgiving that way — but then the individual cookie edges won’t be browned.
4. Remove from fridge and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges begin to brown, then remove to wire rack to cool.
5. Gently press flowers into the tops of cookies while still warm; the moist heat should help it adhere. If any don’t stick, a little fondant dissolved in warm water makes an excellent edible glue. Sprinkle with a little sugar.
(I appear to have graduated to the BIG bags of candied ginger. The Patreon treat boxes will be getting one each of the large rounds and little hearts. The elephants, it turns out, are very tricky to un-mold, so getting sixteen of them without broken trunks was quite beyond me. I’m just not that patient, I think…we’ll just have to eat those.)