Ginger: Chewy Triple Gingerbread Cookies

chewy gingerbread cookies fresh crystallized ginger dried gingerbread christmas holiday

If you are a ginger fan you’re going to love these chewy, spicy gingerbread cookies.

Ginger is perfect this time of year – the peppery spice warming tastebuds and tummies. Although this ancient spice is native to China and India, it is one of the most popular spices of the world. . .

Gingerbread History

What we know as gingerbread today is far from its original form. In fact, what was referred to as “gingerbread” in medieval English cookery, was actually a medicinal candy made of ginger and sugar. Back then, the term was used loosely to refer to candy as well as breads, which were also eaten for medicinal purposes. Later gingerbread evolved into a highly spiced  honey cake, influenced by the German Lebkuchen and Roman honey cakes.

In the 1500s, English gingerbreads denoted highly spiced, crisp cookies. They were eaten after dipping in wine or cider and were also used for holiday ornaments. The crisp cookie version carried over to the new world. Then, when leavening agents were introduced, the term “gingerbread” in the U.S. referred to  ginger-spiced cakes.

Whether cake or cookie, “gingerbread” has been enjoyed during the holidays for hundreds of years. And, although there were special gingerbread bakers in Europe who were a distinct sub-group of the baker’s guild, no special certificate is required to make these cookies.

Hard v. Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

I’m not a fan of the hard-as-brick versions of gingerbread and the thin ginger snaps aren’t interesting to me – I’m more a fan of the ginger and not the snap. So, the recipe below is for a thick, chewy and spicy ginger cookie.

Apparently, the key to getting a chewy cookie is having at least 4 tablespoons butter per cup of flour. Cooks Illustrated got me straight on that. However, as far as process, Heidi at 101 Cookbooks (one of my favorite food bloggers) made some triple ginger cookies awhile back that did not require pulling out the food processor or mixer.

The recipe below is adapted from both. These cookies are the trifecta of ginger – fresh, ground and crystallized. It’s aggressive but not overly sharp, balanced by the molasses. If you’ve followed me for awhile you know I don’t like things super sweet. If you do, up the sugar a few tablespoons and also roll the balls of dough in large grain sugar before baking.

These chewy gingerbread cookies would be great in a holiday cookie exchange.

Chewy Triple Gingerbread Cookies

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated and 101 Cookbooks

Makes 4 ½ dozen small cookies

Ingredients

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup unsulphured molasses

1 large egg, beaten

3/4 cup large grain sugar/sea salt – for finishing (optional)*

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Adjust racks – one in top 1/3 oven – second in bottom 1/3 oven.
  2. Peel and grate fresh ginger; set aside. Finely chop crystallized ginger; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, flour, baking soda and salt. Add crystallized ginger, separate if it clumps and stir to incorporate. Set aside.
  4. In a medium-size skillet or small pot, over low heat, add butter – when it has melted almost half way. Turn off the heat and add the fresh ginger, brown sugar, molasses. Mixture should be warm to touch not hot. Add beaten egg and stir to incorporate. Pour over flour mixture. Stir until combined – do not overwork the dough.
  5. Shape dough into balls (1/2 tablespoon dough for small cookies – 1 1/2 inch; 1 heaping tablespoon dough for 3 inch). Balls should be placed at least 2 inches apart for smaller cookies/ 3 inches for larger.
  6. *Optional:  For a prettier cookie, coat each ball with large granule sugar/sea salt before baking.
  7. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes for small cookies; 10 – 12 for larger. Cookies are done when they have risen and cookies crack. Do not overbake – underbaking is better. Store in airtight container for about 1 week.
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13 Responses to Ginger: Chewy Triple Gingerbread Cookies

  1. Susan says:

    These cookies sound heavenly! I’m going to try them this week. Thanks!

  2. Susan. Let me know what you think. They went quickly at my house – made the 4 1/2 dozen on Wednesday. By Friday afternoon, not one left. Shared with friends and wished I had kept me a stash.

  3. Andrea, great picture! Is this some more coconut eggnog in the background?
    My husband is a big fan of ginger cookies. Thank you for sharing your recipe. He will like the triple ginger “infusion”.

  4. Kirsten: No coquito, just a glass of milk. You can try them together and tell me what you think?

  5. Lea Ann says:

    I love your posts with all the history involved. I’m a big ginger fan and actually like both types of cookies, as long as I get that big bite flavor of ginger. Great photo and I’ve got to give this recipe a try. Sorry I missed the meet up at Barb’s house. I didn’t read the email until 10:32 on Saturday. :( I would have loved to come.

  6. @Lea Ann: These cookies are big on ginger. If you want more bite add a bit more fresh ginger. Re the meet up; looks like we’ll be having a Denver/Colorado food bloggers meet up in January. I’ll contact in advance.

  7. kirby says:

    although i’m not really into ginger cookies, these were certainly the best i’ve ever tasted. also, i like your snippet about enjoying the ginger over the snap. SNAP!

  8. Oh Snap! I like the chewier gingersnaps too. These sound incredible with all the different types of ginger in them.

  9. Those look yummy. I make a similar one, but I don’t think it has real ginger, just powdered and crystallized. I tried putting chocolate chips in it once, but you hardly noticed them with the strong ginger flavor.

  10. The fresh ginger takes it up a few spicy notches. If you want it even a little spicier, add a few dashes of some finely ground black pepper.

    If you’re looking for a chocolate version, Heidi at 101 Cookbooks also did a chocolate ginger cookie. I haven’t tried it yet.

  11. I love ginger, and my kitchen in Mexico has, for a change, all three ginger ingredients. And molasses (rare in Mexico). This will make a perfect Christmas cookie. Thank you.

  12. Kathy says:

    I made these the other day and they were a big hit, everyone commented on how they’ve never tasted a cookie like this before.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Sasha says:

    Just made these. Mine look nothing like the ones in your picture, but it doesn’t matter because they taste fabulous!!

    Not too sweet, perfect ginger flavor. Thank you so much!

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