Thursday, June 26, 2008

Apricot-Ginger Shortbread Fit for a Queen

A buttery, rich shortbread studded with bits of crystallized ginger, white chocolate chunks and dried apricots (apricots making this hedonistic chew a healthy cookie, of course). Just lovely.

The Leftover Queen has summoned her minions for another Foodie Joust and this month’s trio of ingredients are apricots, ginger and butter. Not having much experience with apricots, I had a bit of foodie fun browsing my cookbooks and much food bloggery, but nothing made me flex my jousting arm until it struck me that the toothsome Cranberry and White Chocolate Shortbread I made recently from a Joy of Baking recipe might be transformed into an appropriately apricoty and gingery sweet.

The gambit paid off and this sophisticated blend of flavors was declared a winner among our taste testers and will be presented to the Queen for her delectation.

For our gluten-free household consumers I tried a batch with millet flour and another with sorghum flour, and the sorghum flour seemed less gritty and had a nuttier flavor. I think brown rice flour might also work here in a future batch. If you are not baking gluten-free, you could substitute wheat flour.

Apricot-Ginger Shortbread

8 Tbsp. butter, softened

¼ cup sugar

½ tsp. vanilla

¾ cup sorghum flour

¼ cup corn meal

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/8 tsp. salt

1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped

4 squares white baking chocolate, chopped

2 Tbsp. crystallized ginger

2-3 Tbsp. Turbinado or raw sugar crystals

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Blend in vanilla.

In a separate bowl whisk together sorghum flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, and salt. Add this mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and beat just until incorporated. Fold in apricots, white chocolate and crystallized ginger.

Press the shortbread dough evenly into an 8 inch springform pan or tart part. Prick the surface of the shortbread all over with a fork and then, using a sharp knife, score the top of the shortbread into 8 even pieces. This will make the CRISPY shortbread easier to cut into eight pieces when baked. Sprinkle tops with Turbinado sugar for extra dazzle, as we are cooking for royalty.

Place in the preheated oven and bake until the shortbread is tan, about 60 to 75 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before removing sides from pan. Cut into 8 wedges and allow to cool completely before snacking, or shortbread will shatter.

Makes 8 shortbread cookies.


Kimi said...

Nice combination of ingredients, especially the white baking chocolate. Good luck with the joust!

Anonymous said...

I will have to give this a go! sounds yummy.

Thistlemoon said...

Very very nice entry Rachel! You know how the Queen loves her scones! ;)
Best of luck! I have never ever heard of sorghum flour - sounds interesting, off to go find out more about it!

Simply...Gluten-free said...

What a wonderful flavor combo - sounds delish!

Sunshinemom said...

I love the ingredients that went into this shortbread - very interesting!