I've been on a bit of a ginger kick lately - sparked partially by the presence of my brother who is, by his own admission, a ginger addict. However, at this time of year, I don't see how anyone can turn away the spicy warmth of ginger. Anything that can warm you from the inside when it's chilly out is a good thing in my book (turmeric and cinnamon are another great warming combo in this recipe). So this weekend I pulled out the lovely spice and made cookies and bread.First up, these Triple Ginger Cookies from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks. These delicious cookies use three different kinds of ginger - powdered, crystallized, and fresh. The crystallized ginger is a bit labor intensive as you want to get a really fine mince, so enlist the ginger addict in your house to to that for you - but keep an eye on them so they don't eat too much as they're chopping! We tried several different sizes of these cookies and the best by far were the 1/2 Tbsp size that Heidi talks about in the recipe. They cook up nicely without being too soft in the middle. I used a small cookie scoop and pulled the resulting scoop in two before rolling in the sugar. For the finishing sugar, I used turbinado sugar (or raw sugar) - the crystals aren't too big and the brown color caramelizes nicely on the cookie.
Next, I pulled out my trusty Pillsbury cookbook and made the gingerbread according to the recipe, with one addition - 1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper. It seems to make all the spices just a little more potent and helps emphasize the lemon flavor in the glaze. I should also add that if you are going to go to the trouble of making ginger cookies or gingerbread, you should never use a recipe that calls for less than 4 tsp. of ginger - they will disappoint every time!
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