Cardamom and Ginger Shortbread- A Lighter Way To Bake (Cooking The Books- January 2014.)

Friday 31st January 2014.

I love baking shortbread and as soon as I came across Lorraine’s recipe in her A Lighter Way To Bake book I just knew I had to try this recipe out.  Anything with ginger in it is a winner with me.  There are lots of cardamom recipes around at the moment and I was keen to try baking with it.  The thing is though a lot of recipes call for ground cardamom and I just couldn’t find it anywhere, only in pod form.

My mum bought me a pestle and mortar at Christmas, something which I’d never got round to buying.  I was really pleased, at long last I could grind up the cardamom pods myself.  It was great fun bashing all the pods up and I managed to get the teaspoonful I needed for the bake in the end!

You needed quite a few cardamom pods to get a teaspoonful out of it!
You needed quite a few cardamom pods to get a teaspoonful out of it!

After I’d sorted out the cardamom pods I got on with the shortbread itself.  It was simple to make in my Kitchen Aid.  I started off by creaming butter and brown sugar together.  Once this was combined, I added plain flour and the ground cardamom to the mixture.

Adding the flour and the cardamom to the mixing bowl.

Once this was mixed through I then added some chopped stem ginger, some vanilla extract and a tablespoonful of egg white.  Lorraine says “Fiddly I know, but a whole egg white is too much!”  This then brought the gorgeous sounding shortbread into dough form ready to be pressed into the tin.  The tin was an 8″ round sandwich tin which I’d already greased and lined.  Once this was done, I marked the edges of the shortbread with a fork and scored lines for cutting.  Lorraine says this shortbread serves 10 but I didn’t concentrate and marked it as if it was going to have 12 pieces. Oh well.

All ready and waiting for the family to devour it!

So what made this shortbread lighter?  For a start when comparing it with the shortbread recipe I use normally the sugar and the butter content is reduced.  I think adding in flavour, such as the cardamom and ginger is key to eating healthily as you concentrate on the flavours of the spices and not the fat and sugar.  Lorraine  also used a little egg white to help bring it all together.  She mentions in the recipe introduction “This is not a massive change from a normal everyday shortbread  because, as I have discovered shortbread isn’t shortbread without a certain amount of sugar and fat, but it is a tinsey winsey bit better than my shortbread recipes of the past!”  

We all enjoyed this shortbread in our house.  I’m afraid to say my piece hadn’t even cooled down before it got eaten.  I will definitely bake it again.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

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