Ghanaian Spiced Shortbread

Ghanaian Spiced Shortbread

Now I have made a lot of shortbread in my time, and before now, I thought I was being revolutionary by adding lemon zest to bling them up. However, the recipe I found on the Waitrose website, which is actually one provided by Zoe Adjonyoh, has to be the most exciting shortbread I have ever come across. The spice mix that goes into it is pure genius.

This one recipe made me go straight to buy Zoe’s rather recent (2021) recipe book, which is essentially an introduction to fabulous Ghanaian cookery:

But is this recipe that I have adopted as a favourite – I look forward to many a slice of spiced shortbread this winter! Thank you Zoe!


For the spice mix
1 tbsp ground allspice
1 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1-2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger

For the shortbread
125g butter, at room temperature
55g caster sugar
180g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp spice mix (from the above mix)
Icing sugar, for dusting (optional)  


Mix all the ingredients for the spice mix together in a bowl. Store in an airtight container until needed, or for up to one month.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Mix in the flour and 1tbsp of the spice mix until you have a smooth dough.

On a lightly floured work surface, gently roll the dough until it is about 1cm thick. Cut into your desired shapes using cutters. Place on a parchment-lined baking tray and chill for twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas mark 5. Bake the shortbread for fifteen-twenty minutes or until pale golden. Cool on a wire rack and, if liked, sprinkle with extra icing sugar once cooled.


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