Skibo Castle Ginger Crunch

These particular cookies are Scottish in origin, named after Skibo Castle, which is in the Scottish Highlands. These cookies are a simple shortbread base topped with ginger fudge then cut into tiny pieces that melt in your mouth. They call for Lyle’s golden syrup, a liquid cane sugar syrup, which is widely available in the English/Irish section of many grocery and gourmet stores. Liquid cane sugar has the most amazing taste and creates melt in your mouth cookies. (I also use it in my 5-spice gingersnaps.)

You can add some crystallized ginger to the top, to up the bite, but they are good without it. This recipe was originally in Gourmet Magazine, December, 1999.

Skibo Castle Ginger Crunch
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
For shortbread base:
1 1/4 cups flour
3 T sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch salt
1 stick cold salted butter, cut into pieces

For topping:
3/4 stick salted butter
1 T Lyle’s Golden Syrup (liquid cane sugar syrup)
1 c powdered sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla
Optional – 3 T chopped crystallized ginger.

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 13- by 9-inch baking pan.

Make shortbread base:
Sift together dry ingredients and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles sand or meal. Press evenly into bottom of the pan — the base will be very thin. Bake in middle of oven until golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.
Just before shortbread is done, melt the butter in a small saucepan and whisk in remaining ingredients until smooth. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring, 30 seconds.

Remove shortbread from oven while it is still warm; pour topping over the shortbread, tilting the pan to cover the shortbread evenly. If desired, sprinkle with crystallized ginger. Cool in the pan, then cut into small squares and remove with a spatula.