Mix, Press, Bake, and Slice: Double Ginger Shortbread

I'll make just about anything with ginger, but the reason I decided to try Helen Fletcher's "Double Ginger Shortbread" was the pan she recommends for the recipe: a 13-inch by 4-inch rectangular fluted tart pan. I own this exact pan but rarely get to use it, so I was happy to be able to put it to use. (If you don't have this pan -- which I would assume would be the case for most folks -- you can just bake the shortbread in a 8-inch square pan. Or you can double the recipe and bake it in a 13-inch by 9-inch rectangular pan, which is what I do with David Lebovitz's Ginger Crunch recipe that he bakes in the same rectangular tart pan.)
This recipe is easy and the ingredient list is short. You beat softened butter with brown sugar (I used dark) until light and fluffy; add flour and ground ginger; and incorporate chopped crystallized ginger. I also added a little salt, even though the recipe doesn't call for any. I pressed the dough into the tart pan (that I had lightly coated with baking spray) and sprinkled on coarse sugar before baking.
The slab of cookies released cleanly from the pan after it was cool and I was able to neatly cut the cookies crosswise into slender slices. I liked these cookies a lot. They were chewy, which was an unexpected but very pleasant surprise. I assume the brown sugar is responsible for the chewiness, and it also gave the shortbread a more interesting, warm flavor. The generous amount of crystallized ginger and coarse sugar contributed additional textural contrasts. And while Fletcher advises that these cookies should be "made days ahead of time for the flavors to mature," the cookies tasted great and had a delicious, vibrant ginger flavor when freshly baked. Fletcher says that the cookies will keep well for weeks, so I wish I had been able to keep them around to see how the flavor changed over time -- but they didn't last long in our house!

Recipe: "Double Ginger Shortbread" from Craving Cookies by Helen S. Fletcher. 

Previous Post: "From the Land Down Under: Ginger Crunch," January 22, 2013.