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Holding a bitten walnut ginger shortbread between two fingers

A Smooth Homage to Walker’s

Holding a bitten walnut ginger shortbread between two fingers

There are few things that give me a pause like baking. I am not a natural baker. I haven’t baked long enough to feel like I can trust my intuition. Yet, nothing draws me like baking. I feel like my lack of skills is a challenge. The only way to get better is to try and try. Study my failures and enjoy my successes. Baking this walnut ginger shortbread was definitely a success.

A lot of what I do in terms of food is re-imagining things that I have seen. I try to change the details so that the core is the same but the experience of food shifts. This particular shortbread recipe is based upon the master shortbread recipe on the New York Times Cooking site. I find that recipe to be a good place to start when making shortbread because I have used it many times.

However, when I started thinking of this walnut ginger shortbread, I knew I had to look beyond just dumping in the ingredients. I wanted them to blend into the shortbread recipe and let it become it own thing. Hence, I made some adjustment to the recipe, not just the ingredients but the technique as well. The changes I have made reflect the way I enjoy food; both the cooking and eating.

short stacks of walnut ginger shortbread on a white plate

Despite the nut in the walnut ginger shortbread, I want to still have a smooth experience in the mouth. This meant finding a way to turn the walnut into a sort of flour instead of lumps studded into the dough. The crystallized ginger is a homage to Walker’s version of the Ginger Shortbread. The ginger is also chopped finely so that the dough remains smooth.

One finally note I will make about the process of figuring out this cookie is the baking temperature. I played around with the baking temperature until I arrived at a temperature and timing that gave just the right amount of browning. I hope you try out the recipe for the walnut ginger shortbread. It is really easy but produces a cookie that is marvelous with tea.

Walnut and Ginger Shortbread

A melt-in-the-mouth shortbread cookie with crystalline ginger
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Chilling Time4 hrs
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Cookies, ginger, shortbread, walnut
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 1 Stick Butter room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup Walnut Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Crystallized Ginger chopped into tiny bits
  • 11/4 Cup All purpose flour
  • 1/4 Cup Corn Flour
  • 1 egg yolk room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar

Instructions

  • In a bowl, combine the sugar, ginger, walnut flour, all-purpose flour and corn flour with salt.
  • Cream the butter and the egg yolk together until fluffy. 
  • Add in the flour mixture, about 2 tbsp at a time, and mix gently. Don’t mix too much so that the cookie remains flakey.
  • When flour and butter mixture is incorporated, pour the dough on parchment paper and gently roll into a log. 
  • It is time to chill the cookie dough. I prefer to have the dough in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours but four hours is the recommended minimum. The dough would last in the freezer for a couple of months. If you freeze, bring out cookie dough into a refrigerator at least a couple of hours before baking.
  • When it is time to bake, preheat oven to 300F.
  • To bake the walnut ginger shortbread, cut the log into 1/4 inch thick coins. Place on a baking tray, preferably lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. 
  • Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. The shortbread can be baked longer if you prefer a bit more color on the cookies.
A loaf of knead bread with a slice beside it on a mesh rack

No-Knead Bread

A loaf of knead bread with a slice beside it on a mesh rack

There are few things in life that I find more comforting than bread. Especially the Agege bread that the hawkers used to carry around on top of their head in Lagos. That soft doughy white bread that was just the perfect vessel for all kinds of food. If you have never had Agege bread stuffed with the the fatty trims of suya, you haven’t eaten one of the best things. Or maybe you have never tried Agege bread with akara or the perfectly soft moinmoin. Missing Agege Bread led me to no-knead bread.

There are few things I miss about home like I miss bread. The way bread just seemed to be on every corner and you could always figure out a meal pronto. It might seem crazy that I miss bread in a country where the grocery stores have a million and one options for bread. There is every shape, every size and every ingredient bread in every store.

slice of noknead bread with mashed white beans and poached eggs

But in a land of plenty, when that one special one is missing, you begin to question if you even belong. Lately, I have been experimenting with making bread. I am not a good bread-maker. It is important that I admit my flaws up front. It is either I am too impatient or not attentive enough when making bread. There are bread makers whose artistry and language floor me. I am just trying to make something that could fill some of that void from not having my home bread with me.

For the past couple of years, the no-knead bread has been my companion. Originally presented to the world by Mark Bittman during his time at the New York Times, this recipe has travelled around the world of food blogs. It is a pantry staple that is versatile enough. The recipe is as unfinicky as a bread recipe can be. And the result makes me feel like I have created something special when really all I have done is let flour, water and yeast rest for a long period of time. If there is one recipe I can recommend as a good place to play, it is the no-knead recipe.

I look forward to sharing my different variations of this recipe on this blog.