Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Recipe: Ginger Spice Cookies

I made these cookies for dessert when we had some friends over for lunch on Sunday. It was storming the night before so I was in the mood for some holiday-ish flavors. I served chicken-apple sausage pigs-in-a-blanket, butternut squash and kale lasagna, and then these cookies that are loaded with ginger and spice. I used a recipe from the December 2009 issue of Bon App├ętit as a guide and then improvised out of laziness.

6 tablespoons room temperature salted butter
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup uncrystallized candied ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup golden brown sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 nubs freshly peeled ginger
1/6 cup wildflower amber honey or whatever honey you have
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
small bowl of unrefined cane sugar

First of all, a lifestyle tip: letting your butter get to room temperature rather than sticking it in the microwave will make a huge difference in the shape and texture of your cookies. So measure out your butter, leave it in a large bowl, and let it get to room temperature.

While you are waiting, you can line your baking tray with parchment paper, place your oven rack in the middle, and preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit. You can also cut your candied ginger (I get mine from Trader Joe's) into pieces about the size of chocolate chips and finely grate your fresh ginger. In a bowl, alternate adding your flour and your candied ginger so that the candied ginger doesn't clump together. Add the baking soda and the salt (use 2 pinches if your butter is unsalted). Stir to combine.

When your butter is ready, whisk it until it has a creamy texture. Thoroughly whisk in both brown sugars. Crack your egg into a small bowl, beat it gently, and pour half into your wet ingredients. Add the vanilla, grated ginger, honey, cinnamon, and clove. Whisk thoroughly until creamy. Gently stir in the dry ingredients in two or three batches.

Roll some of the dough into a 1-inch ball. Dip it in the bowl of unrefined sugar and place it on the baking tray sugar-side-up. Repeat with the rest of the dough, spacing the balls 2 inches apart. Bake them for about 15 minutes, or until they are firm on the outside and the tops have that cracked, sparkly holiday cookie look.

Makes 20 cookies.

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