jamie oliver’s panettone pudding tart

jjamie oliver's panettone pudding tart | theclevercarrot.com

I hoard cookbooks.

Don’t you?

And there’s only a 50% chance I’ll actually make something from them. For no particular reason. It’s more about gazing at the pages, photographs and colors with hopes to draw inspiration for my own cooking. I like to hear the author’s voice. I like to look at their kitchens and see where they live.

And those personal snippets under each recipe? My favorite.

Today, I’m branching out. I’m cooking the book….

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santa’s shortbread cookies

Santa's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever Carrot

Santa, I hope you like shortbread.

I must admit, the jolly old man was going to get Oreos this year. But when Dillon asked to make homemade cookies for Santa (and Frosty?) my motherly guilt kicked in.

We decided on sweet, buttery shortbread. My recipe uses regular sugar instead of confectioners sugar, which is what you’ll find in most shortbread cookies. I also use self-rising flour to lighten the texture. These ingredients yield a more tender and flaky cookie, similar to Walker’s Scottish shortbread.

Santa's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever Carrot

Whenever I make cookies that require rolling & cutting, I like to split the workload up into 2 days.

Day 1- Make the dough. Chill for at least 30 minutes- overnight.

Santa's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever Carrot

Day 2- Roll & Cut.

Roll the dough to about 1/4 ” thick. Do this between 2 sheets of floured parchment. Plastic wrap will work too.

Find some cookie cutters and get to work! I used mini Christmas ones by the way…

Santa's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever Carrot

If at anytime the dough starts to soften (and it will), pop it back into the fridge to chill and then start again.

Prior to baking, freeze the shaped dough on a lined cookie sheet for about 5 minutes. This helps to keep its shape when it hits the hot oven.

Santa's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever Carrot

Bake at 325 F for about 20 minutes. They should be golden, but not too brown.

Santa's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever Carrot

Lightly dust with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Santa's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever Carrot


Santa's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever CarrotSanta's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever Carrot

* Shortbread requires only a few ingredients; butter, flour & sugar. It’s best to seek out good quality products for maximum flavor. You will definitely taste the difference!

santa's shortbread cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: makes 30-40 mini cookies
  • 1¼ c. self-rising flour*
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter
  • ⅓ c. sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. confectioners sugar for dusting
* For best results, use store bought self-rising flour (not homemade). Commercial self-rising flour has a low protein content that yields a light and tender cookie. This flour is available in most grocery stores and can be ordered online from King Arthur Flour.
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 F. Line 1 or 2 cookie trays with parchment paper.
  2. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until light and fluffy. You can also use a stand or hand held mixer for this.
  3. Sift the flour into the food processor.
  4. Run the machine until the dough comes together. It should be a little crumbly and soft, but not too sticky. Tip the dough out onto a work surface, and bring the dough together to form a ball.
  5. Flatten the dough into a disk and cover in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes- overnight.
  6. Roll the dough to about ¼ inch thick. Do this between 2 pieces of floured parchment paper. Floured plastic wrap will work too.
  7. To keep them from sticking, dip the cookie cutters in flour and press into the dough. If the dough begins to soften, place it back into the fridge to chill, and then start again.
  8. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, transfer the cookies onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  9. Place in the freezer for at least 5 minutes prior to baking. This will help to keep its shape before going into the oven.
  10. Bake for about 20 minutes (check at 15 minutes) or until lightly golden. Rotate the pans halfway through cooking to promote even browning.
  11. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on the tray. Transfer to a wire rack.
  12. When the cookies are completely cool, dust with powdered sugar.
Cookies will keep in an airtight container for 1 week.

buttery gingernut cookies

Buttery Gingernut Cookies / The Clever Carrot

What on earth is a gingernut?

I came across a recipe in Donna Hay magazine for gingernut cookies. They looked so buttery and delicious that I just had to have them! But I was confused; did she mean gingersnap? Nope. Gingernut. Google please.

Buttery Gingernut Cookies / The Clever CarrotBasically a gingernut is a buttery, crisp cookie flavored with ground ginger. My googling revealed that some gingernuts will often contain cinnamon, cloves, and golden syrup. To me that’s a gingersnap. But in the UK (among other countries) it is called a gingernut. To make matters even more confusing, the term gingernuts and gingersnaps are used interchangeably. Still with me? Good.

So about those cookies…

Buttery Gingernut Cookies / The Clever Carrot

I swapped out brown sugar for Muscovado and decreased the total amount (they were a little too sweet). Muscovado sugar is similar to brown sugar but more toffee-like in flavor. Although more expensive, I think it’s worth the upgrade for its unique taste.

Incidentally, do you know how to soften sugar when it hardens? I learned a cool trick- simply put the sugar in a bowl and pop it into the microwave with a mug of water. Heat for about 15-30 seconds and the steam from the water will soften up your sugar. Works like a charm!

Muscovado Sugar / The Clever Carrot

Other than that…

Buttery Gingernut Cookies / The Clever Carrot

I think I’m in love with the gingernut.

No matter what you want to call them, I thought that Donna’s recipe was a winner. These cookies are incredibly buttery and I love the subtle ginger flavor. Really, it’s the texture that truly won me over. Thin, crisp and flat out addicting. Perfect for dunking too.

Do you make gingernut cookies? Share your recipe here!

buttery gingernut cookies
Serves: 24
  • 1½ sticks of salted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ c. brown sugar (dark or light) or Muscovado
  • 1 egg
  • 1¼ c. flour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp. ground ginger, sifted
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. sanding sugar, Turbinado sugar or Sugar in the Raw
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Make sure that your butter is room temperature. Soften in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds if need be.
  3. With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Do not skip this step as the creaming method incorporates air into the batter helping to create its texture.
  4. Add the egg and continue to beat until well blended.
  5. Working over a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger and baking soda. If you are using salt, add it now. *See notes.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, gently pour the dry ingredients into the bowl working in batches. Mix until just combined.
  7. Roll tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and then roll in the sanding sugar. Place onto the lined cookie sheet leaving room to spread, about 2 inches apart. Sometimes the dough will be too sticky to roll. If this happens, simply scoop out the dough using a small cookie scoop (or tablespoon) onto the cookie sheet. Sprinkle a generous amount of sugar on top. Either method will work.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden. Cool on wire racks.
If using unsalted butter, add ½ teaspoon of fine grain salt (table salt) to the dry ingredients.