I made these after reading this post over at Brownie Points. It's an old post but I happen to love ginger and I'd never made shortbread, so I decided to give it a whirl. I made some smallish modifications to the original recipe, so I've written up my version below. I used the vanilla beans largely because I was out of vanilla extract, but I like the speckled appearance of vanilla-bean baked goods. I didn't do the lemon curd, since I was just looking for a simple procrastination project. I think if I made these again I would try and pump up the ginger by adding some ground ginger to the ginger-sugar mixture. I'd also cut down the salt.
ginger vanilla bean shortbread cookies
1/3 cup crystallized ginger
1/3 cup white sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor or similar (I used my magic bullet because I don't keep a food processor at school), whir up the crystallized ginger and white sugar until you have a fluffy powder. In a small or medium mixing bowl, beat the butter with a mixer until it is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean scrapings and ginger-sugar mixture to the butter and beat until light and fluffy. Now add the flour and salt and mix until dough forms. Since I used a hand mixer, the dough never really formed a ball, but it worked out fine anyway. Put the mixture onto an ungreased cookie sheet or other shallow pan and press into a rectangle of even thickness, about 1/2 inch (or your desired thickness). Use a fork to pierce holes all over to avoid bubbling. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until light brown around the edges and set. If you'd like shapes, cut them out while the shortbread is still warm. I cut mine into 1-1 1/2-inch bars while it was still nice and warm. Cool before packaging.
Yields about 20 1-1 1/2-inch bars.