I thought of these ginger cookies as my own—until I learned how my friend was making them.
I’ve been making the ginger cookie recipe below for easily 20 years. I have added and subtracted the amounts of fresh and dried and candied ginger and I have varied the type and amount of flour: You’ll find a delicious wheat-free version with oat flour in my latest book, Flavor Flours. For ice cream sandwiches, I make them with 1/4 cup less flour (a total of 9 ounces/255 grams) so they spread a bit thinner on the pan and are less hard to bite into when frozen.
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On a recent all-day-long “pastry crawl” in San Francisco—somebody has to do this hard work—with pastry-chef-turned-public-relations pal, Deborah Kwan, I learned that she has also been using “my” recipe for ages and has experimented even more than I have. Here is what she said when I asked for details:
“I've made them with a half-and-half mixture of all-purpose and whole wheat flours, sometimes even up to 3/4 whole wheat flour. It really depends on what I have in my pantry. What really sends these cookies over the top is my own misreading of the ingredient list. Instead of 2 tablespoons of minced fresh ginger, I've put in 2 ounces. I have a generous hand with the candied ginger too.”
Deborah went on to say, “The cookies get better when they've had a chance to age a day or two. So good with tea! Or when you're stuck on the Bay Bridge!”
When she runs out of powdered ginger she uses a tad more allspice and some cloves; because she includes so much fresh and candied ginger, the powdered ginger is not even missed.
Then she asked if I wanted even more details…!
Clearly, these ginger cookies are up to your own interpretation. Let’s see what you can do with the recipe…
2 1/4 cups (285 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons ground ginger 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 1/4 teaspoon salt 8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and just warm 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar 1/3 cup (66 grams) firmly packed brown sugar or light muscovado sugar 2 tablespoons finely minced or grated fresh ginger root 1 large egg 3/4 cup (113 grams) ginger chips or crystallized ginger, cut into 1⁄4-inch dice, shaken in a coarse strainer to remove loose sugar About 1/2 cup (100 grams) Demerara or turbinado or granulated sugar for rolling
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).