If there is anything better first thing in the morning than one of these cookies with a freshly made Americana, I sure as heck don’t know what it is! I mean really, sipping wonderful coffee and taking tiny little bites of one of these cookies (like anyone could really limit themselves to one cookie) is just about the ideal way to wake up in the morning. (The only thing better is a second Americana, again made by the resident barista, and of course another cookie!)
And talk about easy! These simple bar cookies are a snap to make. You just cream some butter and powdered sugar together, add a few more simple ingredients, slam the dough into a pan, bake it for awhile, cut the cookies while they are still warm, and let them cool to room temperature. (Letting the cookies cool to room temperature can be a little difficult, but you’re an adult, you can control yourself for such a short time!)
And the best part! You can eat these cookies at other times of day besides first thing in the morning! It’s just as acceptable as drinking beer with other meals besides breakfast.
So go ahead and serve these cookies before or after lunch, as a mid-afternoon snack, a snack before dinner, a dessert after dinner, a bed-time snack, or at two in the morning when the cookies call to you from the cookie jar. (At least my shortbread calls to me from the kitchen in the wee small hours of the morning. Of course, you may not be so lucky!)
So next time you need a quick and easy treat, bake up a batch of these bar cookies. Your family will love you for it. Your friends and the people you work with will think you’re the bomb. (The people on your bus, not so much.) They are only going to be able to experience these cookies olfactorily. Just don’t be offended if your fellow bus riders aren’t as enthusiastic about your efforts as the people at work. Enjoy the recipe.
- 1½ c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ c. powdered sugar
- 1½ tsp. vanilla
- 3 c. un-bleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp. powdered ginger
- ½ tsp. salt (if using salted butter, add only ¼ tsp. salt)
- ¼ tsp. baking powder
- 2/3 c. finely chopped candied ginger (also called crystallized ginger)
- 1 T. granulated sugar
With an electric mixer, beat butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, ground ginger, salt, and baking powder. Stir in the candied ginger until all the ginger pieces are covered with flour. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing just until a dough forms. Scoop the dough into a 9×13-inch glass baking pan, pat into place, and level off the top with an offset spatula. Prick the dough well with a fork. Sprinkle on the tablespoon of granulated sugar.
Bake the shortbread in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 40-50 minutes, or until the top is a light golden brown. (Don’t under-bake.)
Cool the shortbread on a rack for 6 minutes. While the shortbread is still warm, cut into desired size pieces. Serve at room temperature.