Tonight is Burns Night. I went to a Burns Night Ceilidh in London one year. For what I most certainly lacked in skill and technique I made up in enthusiaism and, erm, more enthusiasm.
And there was a proper Scottish couple there who could actually dance. They knew the steps as you and I know how to walk. In matching tarten ensembles, they were stunning to watch. She with her model looks, he Braveheart.
And there I was, tipsy with whisky, full of haggis-n-neeps and enthusiasm, stripping the willow, dashing the White Sargent and flying the Scotsman all over the place.
These ginger shortbreads are perfect for a post Ceilidh treat.
Happy Burns Night!
Stem Ginger Shortbread
(makes ten; adapted from Great British Bake Off: How to Bake)
100g unsalted butter, softened
50g caster sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling
130g plain flour
Half a tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt
30g chopped stem ginger (drained)
1. Beat the butter until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar until light and fluffy
2. Sift the floiurs, ginger and salt into the bowl. Add the chopped stem ginger and work all the ingredients together with your hands until combined
3. Form the dough into a sausage shape, roughly 10cm long and warp in clingfilm. Pop in the fridge for 30 minutes until firm
4. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Unwrap the dough and slice into ten rounds
5. Arrange on a greased baking sheet and bake for twenty minutes until firm but not coloured
6. Remove from the oven, sprinkle over a little caster sugar and leave to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely
- Try other flavour combinations such as chocolate (replace the ground ginger with half a tsp of vanilla extract and the stem ginger with 30g chopped dark chocolate)
- As with any shortbread, the better the butter, the better the biscuit. It's worth splashing out on the posh stuff.
- This recipe can be easily doubled
- Apparently, the 'short' of shortbread has been used to describe a 'crumbling texture' since medieval times- for more fab food facts see the brilliant food encyclopedia The Taste of Britain
- The missing one in the centre was assigned a 'Baker's Treat'. And apologies about the dark photographs; this grim winter weather does not make for cheery photos.