spicy citrus shortbread


pic from my lovely vegbox people at Abel and Cole

If pomegranates and cranberries appear in a lot of my December dishes then January is all about citrus and spice. There’s something comforting about spicing up your Winter dishes but after the excesses of Christmas a bit of citrus zing is just the job too.

I admit I still get pathetically excited about the contents of my vegbox when I need to supplement what we grow on the plot. This week’s included a recipe for Spicy Citrus shortbread. Clearly meant for me and even though I’ve made it before it’s always good to have someone else’s take on a treat.

Here’s what you’ll need

  • 150g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, softened
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 150g plain flour
  • 75g cornflour
  • zest 1 orange or clementine
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  • A pinch of ground or fresh ginger

And here’s how…

Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3. Beat the butter till softened. Add the clementine zest, spice and sugar. Work until well mixed. Add a pinch of salt. Sift in the flour and cornflour. Mix till smooth. using your hands to gently bring the dough together – try and knead it as lightly and as little as possible. Lightly flour the surface and turn out the dough. Pat into a large flattened round. Pop the dough into a round cake tin lined with greaseproof paper.  Gently work it to the edges. A good way to smooth it out is to put another layer of greaseproof paper on top. Then carefully pull off the top layer. Cut the dough into eight wedges. Crimp the edge with a fork. Prick the centre with the prongs of a fork to make a pretty pattern. Bake in the heated oven for 20 mins – keep an eye on it, you only want it very lightly coloured. While it’s still hot, sprinkle with spiced sugar. Finish off with a bit of zest. Cool and scoff with coffee and friends round the kitchen table on a wintry day.

And for those of you looking for more opportunities for spice and zing try adding orange zest, cinnamon and cloves to apple crumbles or sauted red cabbage. Spice up a parsnip soup with ginger and orange zest. Spicy lemon muffins are good on a cold winter’s afternoon with a cup of steaming coffee. A late night homemade elderberry cordial with added ginger, cloves and chunks of orange slips down a treat. The options are limitless. Go on. Experiment.