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.
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…
My Ginger Cookies
Adapted from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies (Artisan, 2010)
Makes fifty-six 2 1/4-inch cookies
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
Photos by Bobbi Lin