Flavors have seasons just like vegetables and fruits do. I’m slowly working through my gingerbread obsession this month. I’ll have to put it aside come the New Year, but that’s ok with me. I get how it works, and I like the twinge of urgency that the short season brings to my favorite tastes. It’s eat it or lose it, so let’s get to it!
This is a subtle gingerbread shortbread with a really wonderful nutmeg glaze. The glaze really makes it. I’ve been so excited by spice glazes and frostings this season. The intense sweet combined with the warm spice is unexpected and lingers on the palate.
Gingerbread is defined by a combination of spices like ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, along with the distinctive presence of molasses. It can range from a moist cake, to super spicy dense cookies. I like to take those defining ingredients and use them to bring the essence of gingerbread to other things, like scones, pancakes, and this shortbread. As gingerbreads go, the flavor of this shortbread is comparatively mild. You can also form this dough into a log, chill it, and slice into cookies. But don’t forget to glaze them. It’s the combination that makes this recipe so good.
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp each: cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp molasses
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- milk or cream to thin
- freshly grated nutmeg
- Set oven to 350F
- Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the spices, molasses, and vanilla.
- Mix in the flour until a soft dough forms.
- Spread the dough into a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Use your fingers at first to distribute the dough and then smooth it out evenly with a spreading knife.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes. The shortbread will still be pale in color.
- Make the glaze by mixing the sugar with enough cream or milk to form a spreadable glaze. Add freshly grated nutmeg to taste. I like quite a lot. Start with 1/4 teaspoon and adjust to your liking.
- Let the shortbread cool before glazing.