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Ginger-Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies (2)Ginger is just right for this time of year: it has all the festive aroma of Christmas, but with a fresh, invigorating spiciness that transitions smoothly into our recalibrated January diets. It also has mysterious way of soothing colds, which comes in very handy in a house full of singers (of which I am not one).

Gran Stead's Ginger DrinksSo the Gran Stead’s ginger products that were included in my prize hamper are very welcome indeed; and as they donated quite a range of items, there’s a good bit to review in this “Twelve Gifts of Christmas” post, as well as a recipe for shortbread thumbprints involving ginger four ways and that wonderful strawberry preserve from Deerview that I was raving about in my last post.

Gran Stead's Ginger DrinkFirst up: Gran Stead’s signature ginger drinks: I got two bottles each of the original “mellow” variety (don’t be fooled, it’s still got quite a lot of heat!) and their reduced-sugar “fiery” one. The drinks are non-alcoholic, so if you’re going dry this January, and still want something warming to drink, here’s the answer. I took bottles to two New Year’s parties, where they were much appreciated by those who had to drive home. A nice change from the prevailing soft drinks, more elegant and infinitely more tasty.

Gran Stead's Mellow GingerYou can drink the beverages chilled or hot, but I would recommend the latter at this time of year  . . . oh, and about those colds, this is a good thing to sip when you’re suffering from one.

Gran Stead's Ginger ProductsI also got a jar of their stem ginger in syrup, quite lovely, since Christmas baking had   exhausted my previous stash, and a jar of ginger marmalade, which I will break into only after I have finished the orange marmalade from Deerview opened over the weekend.

Gran Stead's Ginger JamHowever, I did start the jar of ginger jam, which is a sweet, chunky spread of apples, ginger, and cinnamon. And I was inspired to find a way to pair it with the strawberry preserve, as I had recently seen a recipe that matched ginger and strawberry with each other (I think it was in Jamie’s Great Britain, one of my Christmas presents), and I had never tried that combination before.

Shortbread Thumbprints with Ginger and Strawberry JamSo I adapted my grandmother’s recipe for shortbread thumbprints, using ground ginger and chopped stem ginger in the cookies, filled them with ginger and strawberry jams, and then garnished them with a pinch of crystallized ginger. I took them to a New Year’s party as well, and they were very favourably received.

Ginger-Strawberry  Jam Shortbreads (3)And the recipe doesn’t have a lot of sugar in it, so you can feel free to tuck into one, even now that January and the month of abstemious eating is here.

Biscuit Barrel LogoThe thumbprints are my recipe for this month’s Biscuit Barrel challenge, which I am guest-hosting for Laura of I’d Much Rather Bake Than . . . The theme is “Innovation and Discoveries.” If you’re interesting in sharing your New Year’s discoveries, follow the link here.

CookBlogShareI’m also sharing them with Supergolden Bakes’ #CookBlogShare.

You can see Gran Stead’s full list of products on their website, and read their story on Rosemary and Pork Belly’s blog.

Ginger and Strawberry Jam Shortbread Thumbprint CookiesIn case you missed it . . .

Previously featured on the “Twelve Gifts of Christmas” series:

  1. The Twelve Gifts of Christmas
  2. The Carrot Cake Company Christmas Cake
  3. Kent Chilli Farm Nanny Pam’s Chilli Jam
  4. A Taste of Dreams Amaretto-Sultana Brownie (gluten-free)
  5. Very Good Food’s Individual Christmas Cake and Pudding (gluten-free)
  6. Snaffles Gourmet Dog Biscuits
  7. Dulci Bella Artisanal Marshmallows (Great Taste Award)
  8. PURE Chocolate Truffles
  9. Small Batch Coffee Company (with recipe for Coffee-Cointreau Truffles)
  10. Pinch Seasonings Organic Spice Blends
  11. Deerview Sussex Fine Foods

Ginger-Strawberry Thumbprint CookiesGinger & Strawberry Jam Shortbread Thumbprints

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 ball stem ginger, finely diced

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons ginger jam

3 tablespoons strawberry jam

Demerara sugar, for rolling

Crystallized ginger, finely chopped, for decoration

Technique:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until the mixture is pale and creamy.
  3. Mix in the vanilla extract, ground ginger, and diced stem ginger. Turn off the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. With the machine running on low speed, add the flour and mix until incorporated. Increase the speed slightly and continue mixing until a smooth dough forms.
  5. Scoop out slightly heaped tablespoons of the dough and roll them into balls between the palms of your hands. You should get eighteen balls of dough.
  6. Pour some Demerara sugar into a small bowl.
  7. Roll the shaped cookies in the sugar, coating them evenly, and then place them on a baking sheet.
  8. Flatten the sugar-coated balls of dough with your hand and use your thumb to make an indentation in the centre of one.
  9. Spoon half a teaspoon of ginger jam into each indentation, and then top this with half a teaspoon of strawberry jam.
  10. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the cookies are firm to the touch and lightly golden around the edges, 10 to 13 minutes.
  11. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, and then transfer them to a wire rack.
  12. Sprinkle a pinch of crystallized ginger over the jam centre of each cookie and let cool completely.
  13. Store in airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to a month.

Yield: 1 ½ dozen cookies

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