Category Archives: Ginger

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.

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A Load of Lemons, Part I: Meyer Lemon Cake

More than a pound of lemons goes into this cake, along with almonds and candied ginger.

That’s what my backyard tree gifted me this winter: a load of Meyer lemons.

After last season’s dismal crop that netted me barely enough lemons to make a couple quarts of lemonade, I was overjoyed to see the bumper harvest this year from my one little dwarf tree.

When life gives you a load of lemons, you just have to use them, of course. In everything you can think of — and then some.

So, I couldn’t have been happier to spy this recipe for “Meyer Lemon Cake” in the new “The Sunset Essential Western Cookbook” (Oxmoor House), of which I received a review copy. The cookbook, by the editors of Sunset magazine, features more than 150 recipes that are so very Californian in spirit — everything from “Hangtown Fry” to “Char Siu-Glazed Pork and Pineapple Buns” to “Tagliatelle with Nettle and Pine Nut Sauce” to homemade fortune cookies.

This quite citrusy cake uses more than a pound of lemons. Most of them are pulverized — rind, pulp and all — to go into the cake batter, which contains no butter. Instead, ground almonds give it richness, along with five large eggs.

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Wishing You A Gingery Holiday

Ginger cookies, anyone? These might just be too good to share.

What would the holidays be without a perfect ginger cookie?

A whole lot of blah humbug, that’s what.

When these cookies go in the oven, the spicy fragrance that fills the kitchen is intoxicating.

With one whiff, you just know Christmas time is here.

“Molasses-Ginger Cookies” is from the new cookbook, “The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook” (Artisan), of which I received a review copy, by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day. They are the founders of the Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, Ga. Cheryl is a former “Soul Train” dancer. Griffith is a funk musician. They met in their early 20s over a love for music, then reconnected 15 years later over a passion for baking.

Their bakery opened a decade ago. They actually got married inside of it, too. The cookbook reflects that very personal touch. It’s filled with homespun treats rooted in Southern tradition, everything from ‘Nana Cream Pie to Plum Custard to Butter Mints.

These cookies are big-fisted, possessed of a crackly sugary top and a chewy-good center — all things you want in a Christmas-time ginger cookie.

Don’t be alarmed by the generous amounts of ground spices used, including a whopping 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. That may seem like way too much. But the resulting flavor in the baked cookies is not overwhelming at all. The taste is spicy, but balanced.

A tiny bottle of Fresh Ginger essence with a big pop of flavor.

For good measure, I even upped the ginger quota by using a sample of Aftelier Chef’s Essences ($16.95 to $19.95) in Fresh Ginger, available at Williams-Sonoma. These tiny bottles of essential, all-natural oils come in a variety of flavors, including Asian Lemon, Sweet Basil and Warm Nutmeg. Of course, I had to try the Fresh Ginger one, being the ginger fiend that I am.

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Garden-Inspired Shortbread Cookies

Buttery, crumbly shortbread flavored with herbs from the garden.

Sondra Wells used to make lavender shortbread for parties. Her friends and family would go crazy for them. So much so, that they told her she ought to sell them.

Now, she does. Her Botanical Bakery of Napa makes seven types of itty-bitty shortbread cookies inspired by the garden: Cinnamon Basil, Fennel Pollen, Cardamom, Lemon Thyme, Naked, ginger Squared and her original Lavender.

They’re all made by hand with Straus Organic Creamery butter, organic hard red wheat flour, and pure cane sugar.

The results are two-bite cookies that are buttery, crumbly and sandy — everything you’d want in shortbread.

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