Ginger and Pepper Shortbreads (makes 15-ish bite-sized shortbreads, feel free to double/quadruple recipe for a "normal" batch)
- 8 tbsp (1/2 c) flour [unbleached all-purpose or pastry flour]
- 4 tbsp (1/4 c) butter, frozen
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- Candied ginger
- Coarse sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
Grate the butter into a mixing bowl (I'm trying this because it worked so well in the biscuits) and add in the sugar. Mix with a fork until it the sugar is incorporated. Add in flour and whisk to distribute the ingredients. Usually, the butter is beaten and everything incorporates easily. However, with frozen butter, that won't happen without either a liquid (currently banned from my shortbreads) or some pressure. So, after ingredients are evenly distributed, get in there with your hands and squeeze the dough until it all forms into a ball.
On a lightly-floured cutting board, roll out the dough into a rectangle or square. It should be very thin - slightly thinner than a #2 pencil. Use a metal spatula to square off the edges. Transfer dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and, with the spatula, cut most of the way through the dough to form a square grid - you can cut all the way through, but half is enough. It will break apart easily after cooking.
In each square, push a piece of candied ginger into the dough so that it forms an indentation. Hopefully this is enough to get it to set. Sprinkle a cross of black pepper from one corner to the other of each square, and a sprinkle of salt perpendicular to that. Turn on the oven to 350 degrees and place the cooking sheet in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Remove the chilled-again tray and place in oven for 10 minutes, rotate, and cook for 10 minutes more. Let cool. Eat one to make sure they are good, then break the grid apart completely so it isn't obvious you ate one before bringing it over to a friends place.