Thursday, March 1, 2012

Paradise in a Cookie

Few things rate as high in my esteem as candied ginger.  Homemade candied ginger even better.  And homemade candied ginger in cookies, well, now that's worth writing about. 

First you need to make some candied ginger.  There are a lot of different ways to make candied ginger.  They way I do it, you end up both with ginger simple syrup and candied ginger.

Take one large piece of ginger, 4 plus inches, and peel it.  I used to slave away with a small paring knife.  But then I read how the cooking whiz David Lebowitz peels his ginger and I wanted to send him a cash prize for innovation.  He scrapes it off with a spoon.  And it hardly wastes any ginger!  Genius!  Once you have peeled the ginger, slice it into thin, even thickness slices and combine with 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar.  Place over high heat, bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours.  You want the syrup to turn a nice deep golden color.  If it's not, simmer it some more.   Strain and reserve the syrup for gingered whiskey cocktails and as an addition to lemon ginger cookies.   Let the ginger cool and then finely chop.  You should end up with a heaping 1/4 cup.  Any more than that munch on yourself. 

Lemon Ginger Cookies

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temp.
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
1 egg
2 Tablespoons ginger syrup
1/4 cup heaping chopped candied ginger
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking soda
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup turbinado sugar (or other large grain sugar)
 Heat oven to 350 F.

Cream butter and sugar with mixer.  Add 1/2 flour, mix well.  Then mix in egg and ginger syrup.  Add candied ginger, powdered ginger, cloves, baking soda, and lemon zest.  Mix well and then add in rest of flour.

Shape into 1" balls and roll on turbinado sugar.  I used a bright orange sugar to add extra color.   Space well apart on prepared baking sheet.  They spread out quite a bit.

Bake 10 minutes and then cool on wire rack.  
Zesty!  And I love how the chunky sugar makes them sparkle!