We have all been there, so much happening in such a short space of time that it can inevitably only end in one of two ways. Killing someone, or sitting in a crumpled heap rocking yourself and sobbing. Not wishing to partake in either activity I settled on a third option, bake something comforting.
Now in the middle of a rather hectic move I only had the basic ingredients, and being the middle of lent, chocolate was most definitely out, I wanted my sweet treat to be relatively fast and fuss free which ruled out waiting for things to cool before smothering them in frosting.
And then like a little beacon of hope there it was, a little jar of stem ginger.
Armed with the Great British bake off cookbook I set about making myself some stem ginger shortbread cookies.
I have used this recipe before, but just for vanilla and chocolate shortbreads. It is the most crumbly buttery shortbread imaginable but I do have one issue with the recipe. Once the dough is made I am supposed to be able to roll it into a log shape, refrigerate it and then slice off nice little rounds. I have never been able to get this dough into a log, it is just too crumbly, and I am conscious of not wishing to work it too much, tough shortbread is not nice.
I have learnt that I can sort of bash it flat a bit and then roll it out. This seems to hold the dough together enough to roll it out.
If you are gentle the trimmings can be re-rolled and I have found it does not affect the end biscuit, hurrah.
The stem ginger version off these shortbreads is by far my favourite, the ginger is not too overpowering and the buttery texture is extremely morish. However if ginger is not your thing then omit the ground and stem ginger and add a teaspoon of vanilla paste to the creamed butter and sugar mix, then leave plain or throw in a handful of choc chips, or finely grated lemon zest, alternatively exchange a couple of tablespoons of plain flour with cocoa powder, as they say, the possibilities are endless.
Stem ginger shortbread (from the great british bake off cookbook)
Caster sugar 100g
Plain Flour 260g
Rice Flour 40g
Ground ginger ½tsp
Stem ginger 50g
Preheat the oven to 170oC and grease 2 baking sheets
Finely chop the stem ginger
Cream the butter with a mixer, or good old elbow grease if you are that way inclined, until well softened, add the sugar and continue to mix until light and fluffy.
Add all the other ingredients to the bowl and bring together with your hands to form a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 15-30 minutes. If you are rolling the dough closer to 15 minutes is best.
Roll out the dough to 1cm thick and stamp out shapes of your choice.
Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Enjoy with a cup of tea or plenty of cold milk!