ginger overload cookies

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk

Here's another of my favouritest favourite recipes that I've been keeping close to my chest till now. It has hands-down been the most-baked recipe by me over the last 12 years, and when I started baking it in halls at uni I found myself with more knocks on my door from friends who just happened to be passing by for a hello and do I have any cookies? I sometimes wonder how many of them were actual friends. But I guess baking brings people together so one can't, and shan't complain.

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk
Ever since I was a kid, my favourite spice has been ginger. I'm addicted to it and must admit that whenever a recipe calls for it, I triple it and add a smidge more, just to be "safe". When pre-uni, my mum handed me a newspaper clipping with a ginger cookie recipe, I immediately fell in love with it and set about tweaking it to get the right consistency and ginger kick. I of course tripled the ginger component of the recipe, then doubled from there, and added in some ginger in other forms for good measure, stopping once I realised the cookies were making us all a little bit high. It's quite lucky that close to where my parents live the Sainsbury's shut down and a cash and carry (wholesale spice and all things Indian) took its place, filled with the good old smells of India and the spices therein, and massive bags of ginger (and cinnamon, cardamom, star anise - all my favourite things). I get my ginger in 500g bags, so this recipe doesn't make a dent, otherwise expect to use close to or over a full teeny poxy little jar you get in most of the main supermarkets.


Lydia's Insanely Addictive and Slightly Psychedelic Ginger Overload Cookies 
I got 18 cookies out of this batch. Such a comfy, neat number :)
Ingredients
240g (1 generous cup) caster sugar
100g butter (just under 1 stick) or baking margarine like stork (I always use the marg option for this recipe)
1 egg
2 tbsp golden syrup (you can also use corn syrup or honey if you can't get golden syrup)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3-4tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp shredded fresh ginger (optional)
2 pieces of ginger in syrup (optional, approximately 25g, 1oz), diced relatively small - about 3-4mm chunks
1tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
240g (1 1/2 genorous cups) plain flour

Method
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F, Gas Mark 2) and line a cookie sheet with baking paper, or grease with oil/butter, if necessary (the sheet I use is smooth enough not to require this step, so you might be able to get away with missing this out).

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk
Cream the sugar and the butter until very light and creamy.
Add the egg and the syrup, and beat to combine. Tip: if you heat up your tablespoon in hot water before loading the syrup on / scooping the syrup out (and between the two loadings required) then it'll slide off the spoon more easily and you'll be sure to get closer to the full amount into the recipe!

If using (and if not then you'd better have a good reason), shred the fresh ginger, on a fine grater if possible, working against the grain to avoid ending up with long fibres in your finished cookies. Add this (and any juice that separated out from the ginger) together with the diced ginger-in-syrup balls into the wet mix.

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk
Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the wet (in one go is ok), and blend with the mixer or by hand to combine. The final mixture will be slightly wet - too wet and sticky to knead but firm enough to maintain its shape when spooned out.

Spoon onto the cookie sheet in 2tbsp-volume balls, roughly 45g per ball, or about the size of a golf ball. Leave about 3 inches around them for spreading, the final cookies will be about 5 inches in diameter. Don't flatten them, they'll do that all by themselves (they're just, like, totally laid back, dude).

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk
Bake on the highest shelf for 10-15 minutes. Mine took 12 minutes and it's a very fine line between being underdone and overbaked, you're looking for a light golden colour and a nice cracked top, still squidgy in the middle but that will quickly form a skin and firm up a little once cooling. I err on the side of underdone as it loses it's chewiness when overdone, plus I have no qualms with raw cookie dough (also, you can always chuck them back in to bake a little longer, but you can't un-bake them. This tip brought to you by captain obvious). Any overdone / burnt ones do pair shockingly well with white chocolate buttercream, or any frosting (see this page) you might have leftover in the fridge from a previous baking expedition though, so panic not, fearless baking adventurer.

Allow them to firm up a little on the sheet, for about 2 minutes, before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling, with the aid of a fish slice pushing down on the sheet and easing it under the cookie in a gentle side-to-side motion (but not too slow otherwise the cookie will start to cool and stick to the tool) to avoid deforming the still warm and oh-so-soft cookies.


Once cool enough to handle, dig in! These are most excellent dunked in ice cold milk or a delicious, hot coffee, before slurping the liquid out of the crumb. Om-nom.

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk

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