Sugar and Spice, And Apricot-Ginger Cookies That Are Oh-So-Nice

Start your ovens, people. It's cookie time.

Start your ovens, people. It’s cookie time.

 

Say good-bye to turkey, and hello to cookies.

With Thanksgiving over, it’s now the serious start of cookie baking season.

What better treat to get you in the mood, too, than “Big Chewy Apricot and Ginger Cookies”?

Nothing says winter holidays quite like the fragrance of cinnamon, ginger and molasses wafting from the kitchen. And this cookie has ginger in spades. Three kinds: ground, fresh, and crystallized. It’s ideal for a ginger fanatic like myself.

The recipe is from “The New Sugar & Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking” (Ten Speed Press) by Samantha Seneviratne, of which I received a review copy.

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Seneviratne, who blogs at the lovely Lovecommacake, is a former food editor in the kitchens of Good Housekeeping, Fine Cooking, and Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food.

This is the kind of book you’ll want to bake from again and again. The recipes are comfortingly familiar but with subtle twists such as the addition of black pepper to the torched meringue atop her “S’more Pie,” the cinnamon that infuses her “Ricotta Cheesecake with Bourbon-Raisin Jam,” and the licoricey note in her “Pear Tarte Tatin with Anise Seed Caramel.”

I was intrigued by the addition of dried apricots to this homespun ginger cookie. The sweet-tart fruit adds a whisper of tang to these very gingery cookies. And the sticky-chewy texture of the apricots mirrors that of the crystallized ginger.

They bake up crisp on the edges and chewy within — just how I love my cookies.

And boy, do they make the house smell like Christmas.

A heap of ginger and soft, chewy apricots flavor these cookies.

A heap of ginger and soft, chewy apricots flavor these cookies.

Big Chewy Apricot and Ginger Cookies

(Makes about 2 dozen)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped

1/3 cup unsulphured blackstrap moloasses

2 tablespoons peeled, finely grated fresh ginger

1 cup dried whole apricots, chopped

Sanding sugar, for rolling (optional)

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, pepper, and salt. In a second large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the egg, crystallized ginger, molasses, and fresh ginger. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour mixture until well combined. Stir in the apricots. Roll the dough in 3-tablespoon balls. (If the dough is too soft, pop it in the fridge to set up a bit.) Place the dough balls on one of the prepared sheets and chill until firm, for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll each chilled ball in sanding sugar to coat, and then place on the prepared sheets, at least 2 inches apart (they will spread). Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the center of each cookie is just set, 14 to 16 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, and then move the cookies to racks to cool completely.

Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to a month.

From “The New Sugar & Spice” by Samantha Seneviratne

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