Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Double Ginger Crackles

Ginger is a flavor I think I’ve been settling into liking more & more.  While I have always enjoyed ginger ale, and the seasonal gingerbread cookies, those are rather mainstream varieties of the ginger flavor.  It kept creeping it’s way into new spheres of my tastes.  Perhaps it began with the homemade ginger beer in the wonderful Cumberland Sidecar, a formerly off-the-menu special concoction crafted by my favorite bartender Charles at my former neighborhood bar, Rumba.  That opened my flavor palate up, and then I also began to love the La Nouvelle Mode at Suzy Wong’s House of Yum, which featured a ginger liqueur.  So while I obviously have developed a love of sipping on the ginger flavor, I’d yet to taste a ginger flavored dessert that truly captured my taste attention without overpowering it.

And then these cookies came along.  I decided to try them on a whim, because the baking list was pretty short, and I already had everything on hand.  You might be wondering, “Erin, did you really have crystallized ginger just hanging out in your pantry?”  And the answer is, why yes, I did, thanks to a random splurge purchase at Trader Joe’s.  Good ol’ TJ’s is a good place for random purchases.  Often I browse their snack aisle thinking of things I might one day bake into a treat, knowing full well I will usually just open the package and eat them all.  (Like I did with their chocolate covered sunflower seeds and the dark chocolate peanut butter cups.)  Well, I bought a package of candied crystallized ginger, went home & opened them up to try one.  BLECH!  That was my first thought.  I did NOT snack on those, and so they stayed in my pantry.

Somehow, someway, despite my dislike of the candied ginger on it’s own, when combined in this cookie with the wonderfulness that butter, sugar, & flour bring the the bowl, the end result is a cookie that is delightfully rich with flavor & complexity.  It was such a great departure from a sugar cookie, a peanut butter cookie, or a chocolate chip cookie.  I personally loved eating this cookie for breakfast with a warm cup of coffee.  This is a cookie I know I personally will turn to again and again!


Double Ginger Crackles


10 oz. (2-1/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
2-3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. table salt
6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup molasses
3 Tbs. finely chopped crystallized ginger


Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick baking liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, ground ginger, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar with an electric mixer (a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a hand-held) on medium-high speed until well blended. Add the egg, molasses, and crystallized ginger; beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until well blended.

Pour the remaining 1/3 cup sugar into a shallow bowl. Using a 1-Tbs. cookie scoop, a small ice cream scoop, or two tablespoons, shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the sugar to coat. Set the balls 1-1/2 to 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through baking, until the cookies are puffed and the bottoms are lightly browned, 12 to 14 min. If you touch a cookie, it should feel dry on the surface but soft inside. The surface cracks will look a bit wet. Let the cookies sit on the cookie sheet for 5 min. and then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. When cool, store in airtight containers.

Ginger flavor intensifies with time, making these cookies excellent candidates for long keeping. When stored in an airtight container, the cookies remain impressively delicious for up to five days from baking. Well wrapped, the cookies will keep for several weeks in the freezer.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size: per cookie; Calories (kcal): 80; Fat (g): 3; Fat Calories (kcal): 25; Saturated Fat (g): 2; Protein (g): 1; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1; Carbohydrates (g): 12; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0; Sodium (mg): 40; Cholesterol (mg): 10; Fiber (g): 0;

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