Ginger lends the ‘zing’ to these Shortbread Zingers
“Oh, it’s good!,” exclaimed Howard Carver. “What gives it that little zing?” His colleagues on the Continental Divide Land Trust (CDLT) Board of Directors made several guesses before they identified crystallized ginger as the mystery ingredient in the sweet they were nibbling. Leigh Girvin, executive director of CDLT, volunteered the group to sample and review a baked good for this column. I took them a walnut-chocolate -chip-crystallized ginger shortbread and they gave it a strong nod of approval.The CDLT is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting open space. Thanks to them, there are land preserves throughout Summit County. The 179-acre Giberson Preserve is, perhaps, the best known of these. It encompasses the land on the west side of I-70 looking north from Frisco’s Summit Boulevard.Dave Bittner, the board’s president, applauded the tender, crumbly texture of the shortbread. The chocolate chips were enough to win Larrie Mackie’s vote. Sue Ellen Carver noted that the crystallized ginger takes this cookie out of the ordinary, making it very adult and special. Terri and Jerry Eaton agreed, saying that they’d serve it often as a party dessert. Girvin added that it would be a lovely accompaniment to either coffee or tea.This cookie is easy to make and freezes well. I serve it with berries or a fruit compote. It’s also great with ice cream, sorbet or frozen yogurt.
(Makes 12 wedges. Bake in a ten-inch tart pan or glass or metal pie pan)Ingredients1 cup all-purpose flour2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (one stick)1/3 cup granulated sugar plus about one tablespoon to sprinkle on top1 teaspoon vanilla1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts1/3 cup mini chocolate chips3 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger, firmly packed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position. Butter the pan or spray it with Baker’s Joy.Stir together the flour, salt and cornstarch in a small bowl.Beat the room-temperature butter, sugar and vanilla together with an electric mixer (on high speed if it is a hand-held mixer; high-medium speed if it is a standing mixer). Scrape the bowl often and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and mix either by hand or on low speed until the dough just starts to come together. Stop before you get a smooth dough. Don’t overbeat the dough or the cookie will be tough. Mix in the walnuts, chocolate chips and ginger.Press the dough into the pan. If you are using a pie pan, build up the edges so they reach about a half-inch up the sides. Using a fork, crimp the edges. Then, cut the dough into twelve wedges of equal size. Use a ruler and a sharp knife to make even cuts. Make sure you cut all the way through the dough. Prick each wedge several times with a fork. Sprinkle the
tablespoon of sugar over the top.Bake until the cookies are starting to brown on the edges and are just firm to the touch. This takes about 30 minutes in my oven. If you are using a metal pie pan, it may take a bit longer.Transfer the pan to a wire rack and recut the wedges. When the cookies have cooled completely, carefully remove them from the pan. They should be tender and crumbly, so if you baked them in a pie pan, you may need to use a knife or small spatula to get the first one out.This recipe is a variation of one found in Williams Sonoma’s “Cookies and Biscotti.”If your group or organization would like to sample and review a baked good for this column, contact Vera Dawson at firstname.lastname@example.orgVera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude.
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