I love to bake, but I’m not a particularly good baker, at least not from scratch. When I was on maternity leave, I decided to try to perfect my baking skills in between naps, bottles and diaper changes. Some things turned out wonderfully, others not so much. The best example of “never to be baked again?” French Macaroons (if it came from Martha Stewart, I should have known it would never work for me!). The best example of “I’d make this again in a heartbeat?” Gingered Orange Shortbread Cookies.
It was my first attempt at shortbread, but as soon as I made them, I knew I’d be making them again and again. They're delicious and perfectly Christmas-y with a combo of ginger and orange. Then, when I found the story of “The Christmas Orange” I knew I had the perfect gift combo for my work colleagues this year!
My shortbread recipe is a conglomeration of the best things from the original Gingered Orange Shortbread and this Rosemary Chocolate Chip Shortbread from Melissa d’Arabian (also delicious, I might add). Shortbread is ridiculously easy. Even if you’ve never made a successful baked good in your life, you should try shortbread! It’s just butter, flour, sugar and whatever “mix-ins” you decide to add. Seriously, SO very easy!
Here's the cast of characters (full recipe at the end of the post):
|Flour, Sugar, Butter, Vanilla, Orange Extract, Candied Ginger, Orange Peel|
1) First, you cream the butter and sugar.
|Seriously, who doesn't love a big bowl of butter and sugar?|
3) Once the extracts are incorporated, add the flour, ¼ cup at a time, and the salt. Then, add your mix-ins (candied ginger and orange peel, in this case).
4) Beat until a dough ball forms. Divide the dough ball into two halves
|It's done when the dough ball pulls away from the sides of the bowl like this!|
|These are my absolute favorite cutting boards...from Ikea!|
Preheat oven to 300° F.
Cream butter. Cream together sugar and salt with the butter and then stir in the ginger pieces, orange zest, vanilla and orange extract. Mix in the flour just until the dough comes together. Form into two logs, wrap in foil and refrigerate for one hour or more until the dough is firm. Cut into 1/4″ slices and place on a foil or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 300° F for 20-25 minutes, being careful not to let the edges burn. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet.