While some swooned over the chocolate ones, a batch of gingery cookies actually won the cookie contest. Wanting to make something seasonally warming, I was particularly attracted to the recipe on page 38 of my library-loaned copy of The Ultimate Cookie Cookbook. The combination of candied ginger, vanilla, brown and sugar and baking spices made these an absolute must.
Watching them spread out thin and flat under the oven light, I knew they were developing the crispy texture I was after. Generally I’m a soft & chewy cookie lover, but the boy has been swaying me.
Always seeking to please, I knew these cookies were a success as I watched the boy gobble down all 4 off a plate. He claimed the crisp golden edges as his favorite while I savored the chewy center bite. It satisfied both our sweet desires. The only problem with these treats is that they’re such short-lasting treasures.
Candied Ginger Cookies
Adapted from The Ultimate Cookie Cookbook by Barbara Grunes and Virginia Van Vynckt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar (I shorted it by few spoonfuls)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean (optional)
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup minced candied ginger
NOTE: My ground ginger (which had come in a friend's suitcase from Indonesia about a year ago) tasted off. Instead substituted 1 full teaspoon pumpkin pie spice for everything (it's a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice). I also didn't have cream of tartar, so replaced that and the baking soda with 3/4 teaspoon baking powder. The results were still wonderful.
Cream butter and sugars on medium speed until light, about 2-3 minutes. As an alternative, it's also nice with vanilla bean. Add the scraped seeds when creaming butter. Blend in egg and vanilla. Whisk dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly stir into butter-based batter to make a soft dough. Mix in candied ginger.
Either stick saran wrap directly to the surface of the dough, or gather in a ball in your hands and wrap completely in the plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
Cook on cookie sheet for a couple minutes before removing to a wire rack. And please, if you're intent on baking, buy a wire rack!
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or bust out your silpat mat. Scoop spoonfuls of dough and shape into 3/4-inch to 1-inch balls, then flatten slightly with your hand to make a thick disk. Set the cookie balls at least 2 1/2 inches apart on a cookie mat, as they'll flatten quite a lot in a cooking. These cookies really spread out, creating a sweet, crispy cookie with just a hint of chew in the center. Grunes and Bynckt say to bake for 8-10 minutes at 350, but these take at least 14 minutes in my oven. If baking for someone who likes crispy cookies (ahem, my sweetheart), you can push it until 16 minutes. The results are still fabulous - it's just a matter of taste.