Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I love cooking, but I don't have a lot of cookbooks. Usually, I prefer internet as a source of inspiration instead of spending 20-30 euros for a collection of recipes, most of which I never come around recreating. With Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson it was a different story altogether. I first discovered her wonderful blog and loved virtually any recipe I tried. From there, it was only one step to buying Heidi's book that is chock-full not only with gorgeous pictures and tasty dishes, but also a ton of useful information on healthy cooking. Till then, I had only a very blurred idea about what "Healthy cooking" was about, and considered health food stores as the reign of people wearing Birkenstock sandals throughout the year (WITH socks, if the weather conditions should require it) and feeding their children sugar-free dusty muesli for breakfast. After reading Super Natural Cooking, the things have changed. I'm no more afraid of buying whole grains and flours, trying different kinds of browns sugars (and yes, they ARE all different!) and turn to the book and to the blog anytime I need inspiration or am in doubt about some "healthy" stuff.
The following recipe for Gingery Shortbread is from Heidi's book, though there are variations to it on her blog, too. I changed the original recipe a bit, using buckwheat flour instead of the amaranth one, and adjusting baking time and temperature as i was dieing to try my new shortbread pan and figured that freezing the dough inside the pan and then putting it straight into hot oven, as instructed, would do the ceramic pan no good.

Was I satisfied with the results? Well, given the fact that I've never had any shortbread before, this one was delicious, with a hot spiciness from the ginger and a tenderness from the butter that I've never met in a cookie :) I will definitively try all the variations of the recipe (rosemary and pine nuts seem so good!), hoping that a less chunky dough (due to minced candied ginger) will result in a more defined pattern.


Gingery Shortbread Recipe

(adapted from "Super Natural Cooking" by Heidi Swanson - I give full dose here, though I halved the recipe to fit my pan)

1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbs ground ginger
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2/3 cup natural cane sugar (I used Demerara sugar)
1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger

Mix flours, salt and ground ginger in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, cream butter with sugar, then add the dry ingredients and the minced ginger and mix until just combined and crumbly. Gather together and wrap tightly into cling film, refrigerate for 20 min.
Preheat oven to 160 ° C. Spay the shortbread pan with non-stick spray and pat the dough into the pan. Prick entire surface with a fork and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before releasing the gingerbread from the pan. Eat.

Alternatively, you can roll the dough and cut cookies out of it. In this case, I would follow Heidi's suggestion to freeze the cut cookies for 10 minutes before baking, and reduce the baking time to about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies.

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