As the holiday season gears up in the States, coffee drink marketers are doing a great job of turning me into the Grinch when it comes to their seasonal beverage peddling. I can’t blame the ad folks for doing their jobs. Seasonal drinks do bring in the Benjamins for beverage businesses. I just don’t want to hear about it since I don’t deal well with syrupy drinks. See? I really am the Grinch of seasonal beverages. Stop your caroling and hand-holding and gift-giving and pumpkin spice latte sipping, Whos of Who-ville!
Fine, fine. Sip on, friends whose bodies can withstand the power of yuletide sugar. I’ll just be over here in my tiny nook of the internet working through my jealousy and perfecting a ginger cookie that even the high-glycemic averse folks can nibble on (in moderation, of course).
Below, you’ll find the fruits of my cookie-baking labor, a recipe gleaned from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day. This is my first foray into the sweets section of her cookbook. I’ve been impressed by many of her savory recipes (I make her Black Sesame Otsu and Miso-Curry Butternut Squash with Tofu, Kale, and toasted Pepitas a couple times a month during autumn and winter), but I wasn’t confident that a cookie recipe from a cookbook that promotes whole foods and health would stand up to traditional cookie recipes. I’m glad to be proven wrong with these discs of deliciousness.
Though they aren’t low-glycemic by any stretch of the imagination, the use of whole-wheat pastry flour, zingy ginger, and unsulphured molasses added depth of flavor and nutritional value without skimping on taste. In fact, I’m crowning this recipe Holiday Cookie Queen. If you’re on the hunt for a cookie recipe for Thanksgiving or an upcoming winter holiday party, look no further. I have no doubt one of these ginger cookies would even go well with a tall holiday coffee drink, though I’d recommend a pot of hot mint tea and a good book to go alongside them instead.
(adapted from a Super Natural Every Day recipe)
Makes 48 tiny cookies or 24-28 regular-sized cookies
– 1/2 cup / 2.5 oz / 70 g large-grain raw sugar or turbinado sugar
– 6 ounces / 170 g bittersweet chocolate (70 percent cacao)
– 2 cups / 8 oz / 230 g spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 11/2 tablespoons ground ginger
– 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
– 1/2 cup / 4 oz / 115 g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
– 1/4 cup / 60 ml unsulphured, blackstrap molasses
– 2/3 cup / 3.5 oz / 100 g fine-grain natural cane sugar
– 2 tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
– 1 large egg, well beaten
– 1 cup / 6 oz / 170 g plump dried apricots, finely chopped
1. Put the large-grain sugar in a small bowl. Chop the chocolate into 1/8-inch / 3mm pieces, more like shavings, really. (My chocolate was more chunk-like, and unless you get the chocolate covered with dough before you bake, the chunks tend to melt and make the cookie look less fancy.)
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, and salt.
3. Heat the butter in a saucepan until it is just barely melted. Stir in the molasses, fine-grain sugar, and fresh ginger. The mixture should be warm, but not hot at this point. If it is hot to the touch let it cool a bit, then whisk in the egg. Pour this mixture over the flour mixture and add the apricots. Stir until barely combined. Stir in the chocolate. Chill for about 30 minutes, long enough to let the dough firm up a bit.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C with racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Scoop out the dough in exact, level tablespoons. Then tear those pieces of dough in two and roll each piece into a ball. Grab a small handful of the large-grained sugar and roll each ball between your palms to heavily coat the outside with sugar. Place the cookies a few inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
6. Bake the cookies, two sheets at a time, for 7 to 10 minutes, until cookies puff up, darken a bit, are fragrant, and crack. (Or if you’re like me and have an old stove that’s missing one of its rack, just bake one sheet at a time.) If you’re not sure, peek at the bottom of one of them; the bottom should be deeply golden.