Lorraine went through several iterations of this recipe before arriving at the version included in A Lighter Way to Bake. There is still a generous amount of butter, but the sugar has been cut to a modest 1/3 cup, which lets the earthiness of cardamom and the bite of freshly chopped ginger to shine through in every crumbly wedge.
Why this recipe works:
- There is still a full stick of butter in the dough, which preserves the buttery flavor of a good shortbread.
- The pairing of cardamom and ginger is nicely spicy, and great for summer. it pairs well with iced coffee or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Excerpted from A Lighter Way to Bake by Lorraine Pascale. Copyright 2014 Lorraine Pascale. Excerpted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
- Yield:makes 10 shortbread wedges
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:1 hour
- Spray oil
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup soft light brown sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1-inch piece peeled ginger, finely chopped
- Seeds of 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon egg white (fiddly, I know, but a whole egg white is too much!)
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons low-fat milk
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch springform pan with a bit of spray oil and then line the base with baking parchment.
Using an electric mixer fitted with the beater attachment or by hand with a wooden spoon and in a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar together until combined. Add the flour, ground cardamom, ginger, vanilla seeds or extract, egg white, salt, milk and 1 tablespoon of cold water and mix everything together. The mixture is quite dry so I find it best to get my hands in and squash it against the side of the bowl to bring it together.
Put the mixture into the pan and squish it tight and flat with the back of a spoon. Once the shortbread is level, press the tip of your index finger all the way around the edge of the shortbread to make a fluted pattern and then use a sharp knife to mark the shortbread into 10 even-size triangular pieces. Bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes or until the shortbread is a light golden brown and firm, but with a slight softness to the touch.
Once cooked, remove it from the oven and use the sharp knife to cut through the 10 wedges. Leave to cool completely before carefully removing from the pan. Arrange the wedges on a plate and serve.