I know shortbread is not Irish, but it is Gaelic and they do serve it in Ireland, so I'm just going to make an executive decision and say it's perfect to serve on St. Patrick's Day!
Because after the corned beef and cabbage, a Guinness chocolate cake just doesn't appeal, and this ginger shortbread is really addictive. Shortbread is delightfully easy to make and also easy to make special versions of.
You can buy most of the ingredients in the bulk department if you want to cut down on money and packaging. I went to Eureka Natural Foods because they are having a sale on Irish Kerrygold Butter, and for shortbread, that has so few ingredients, the quality of your butter and sugar must be the best.
Ginger shortbread is a family favorite that incorporates crystallized ginger – again, from the bulk bins – and powdered ginger, just enough for a tiny zing. These are easy to make and really sublime. Bring some to the office and maybe you will be forgiven for not wearing green.
I make my shortbread like the Scots, with some rice flour and wheat too, but you can use all wheat if you want. Rice flour gives it a nice silkiness and crispness. Leave out the ginger if you want to be a purist.
2 sticks unsalted butter
1.5 cups all purpose flour
.5 cups rice flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 t. salt
Preheat oven to 325.
add 2/3 cup minced crystallized ginger and 1/2 t. powdered ginger
Using a pastry cutter, fork or a Kitchen Aid, cut butter into sugar and salt, and blend until smooth. Add flours, then combine until mixture is a smooth dough. If you are making the ginger version, add gingers. Roll dough into tube about 2 inches around, wrap in wax paper and chill for at least 45 minutes. Cut into half inch thick discs and bake at 325 for 9 or so minutes until just turning golden. Cool on rack. Keeps very well!