Cookies addictions happen to the best of us and show no mercy once we’re hooked. Some of us have “Toll House” cravings at odd hours and maintain a special chocolate chip stash in the pantry to be ready for them. Other poor souls must get their annual fix of Thin Mints, Samoas, or Do-Si-Dos by tracking down elusive Girl Scouts. For others still, French-style macarons bring on ooh-la-la urges that simply must be satisfied NOW. And my own form of cookie madness? I confess that ginger snaps, the crisper and zippier the better, are my particular weakness.
My aim in this recipe was for an adult-style ginger cookie with a very spicy snap to it. The recipe borrows Alton Brown‘s superb idea of including three forms of ginger as ingredients — fresh, dried, and candied — for added zing. And to complement and add complexity to the ginger flavor of this cookie, I experimented with and then settled on a combination of sweet spices that I think works particularly well: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and coriander seed. The result satisfies my own cookie dependency. What’s yours, and how do you cope with it? I, for one, am not ready for rehab just yet.
1 cup whole wheat flour, unsifted
1 cup unbleached white flour, unsifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons ground (dried) ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons molasses
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 cup candied ginger, chopped
(optional) granulated white or brown sugar (for coating the cookies), placed in a shallow dish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and position two oven racks in the middle portion of the oven. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper, cut to fit, and set aside.
- Sift the flours, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, and allspice into a large bowl. Whisk until well blended and set aside.
- In a food processor or chopper, pulse the fresh and candied ginger together until finely minced. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the softened butter, brown sugar, and molasses for one minute until well blended. Add the egg and balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice) and beat for approximately two minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the the minced fresh and candied ginger.
- Stir the sifted dry ingredients into the butter/sugar/egg mixture until well combined.
- One tablespoon at a time, roll the cookie dough between your palms into one-inch balls, lightly dust them with the reserved granulated sugar (or not, if you prefer), and place the balls on a baking sheet, spaced three inches apart.
- Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 15-18 minutes, depending on the degree of cookie crispness preferred (I opt for the longer cooking time). Remove from the oven, allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheet for two minutes, and transfer to wire racks to cool. Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.
· In the US, candied ginger can be hard to locate except during the Christmas holiday season. I find that Harry & David stocks it year-round.
· Ginger is cheap and easy to grow if you live in an area with a warm climate. Just snap off a firm, heathy node of store-bought ginger that has a “nubbin” on it (a former stem); suspend it, using toothpicks, with the “nubbin” facing up over a glass of water; wait for roots to develop; and plant it in the garden or a large pot. Voila! It makes a good project for kids even if you live in an area with frigid winters. The greenery of ginger plants is shown in the post photo above.