Spicy Ginger Cookies for Quarantine

I’m on a kick these days, trying out traditional recipes that represent our mixed heritage in Canada. I’ve just published a recipe for Norwegian glögg, a warm, spicy wine concoction served often at Christmas. Glögg tastes great with spicy ginger cookies, so I’m posting a recipe for these now, which came to me from a friend who was experimenting with cookie recipes during COVID isolation. Turns out this is a take on the traditional British version, favored by Fortum and Mason.

These cookies are a chewier, more satisfying version of the traditional American gingersnap. They are not low in calories, but I’ve offered some tips in the notes to make them a tad healthier as a treat for the family.

Arrange the soft, spicy cookies on a platter with apples and a well-aged cheddar cheese. The secret is using candied ginger cut into small chunks the size of a chocolate chip. And don’t forget the glögg – skål!

Spicy Ginger Cookies
Makes about 36 cookies

  • 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour*
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (100 grams) crystallized (candied) ginger, chopped into bits about the size of a tiny chocolate chip
  • 1 cup (100 grams) coconut palm  sugar**
  • 3/4 cup (120 grams) unsalted butter,*** room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup liquid molasses****
  • white sugar for rolling (1/4 cup should do it nicely)
  1. Combine the first six dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend well.
  2. Mix in the crystallized ginger pieces making sure all the small pieces are covered in flour. I used my fingers to mix these in well.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, blend the sugar and butter together together in a large bowl until smooth.
  4. Add the egg and molasses, and beat with a hand mixer until blended.
  5. Fold in the flour mixture using a wide spatula, just until blended.
  6. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or more. The dough should feel very firm.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three standard cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Put 1/4 cup sugar onto a small plate.
  9. Using wet hands, form the dough into 1-inch balls (20 grams each). I use my scale to ensure equal-sized balls. If you go larger, the cookies will run into each other on the pan when baking.
  10. Roll each ball in sugar to coat completely.
  11. Place the cookie balls on your prepared sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart (12 on each sheet, three across and four down offsetting the rows for maximum spacing). Don’t press them flat.
  12. Bake the cookies one tray at a time in the center of the oven. Keep the second and third trays in the fridge until you are ready to bake the cookies. If you have two ovens, you are in luck. Don’t try baking both trays at the same time stacked in one oven, as they will cook unevenly or even burn.
  13. The cookies are done when cracked on top but still soft to touch, about 11 minutes. They will feel really soft when first removed from the oven. Don’t over cook them. They are best when soft and chewy.
  14. Cool on the baking sheets for 1 minute. Then with a spatula, carefully transfer the cookies to racks and let them cool. Pack them in an air-tight cookie tin for storage.

Nutrition information

*I often use half all-purpose flour and half whole-wheat pastry flour or all whole-wheat flour, with good results and more fiber.

**You can substitute brown sugar, but coconut palm sugar has a lower glycemic index (thus is better for you).

***You can use all butter in this recipe, but its saturated animal fats are a less healthy choice. Coconut palm oil has saturated plant fats that include one found mainly in mother’s milk, lauric acid. Over 50% of the fats in coconut oil are medium chain fatty acids, including lauric acid (12:0). Coconut palm oil is the highest natural source of lauric acid.

****A mild-flavored molasses is more traditional, but honey is another option and a tad healthier. Raw honey contains antioxidants and has prebiotic oligosaccharides that help feed gut flora.

A batch of perfect ginger cookies cooling on a rack

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