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.

These cookies are a chewier, more satisfying version of the traditional 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 24-26 cookies

  • 2 cups (240 grams) 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 honey or 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 an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl until fluffy.
  4. Add the egg and honey (or molasses), and beat until blended.
  5. Fold in the flour mixture using a wide spatula, just until blended.
  6. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or more.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Spoon some sugar in a thick layer onto a small plate. Using wet hands, form the dough into 1-inch balls (25 grams each). I used my scale to ensure equal-sized balls. If you go larger, the cookies will run into each other on the pan when baking.
  9. Roll each ball in sugar to coat completely.
  10. Place the cookie balls on your prepared sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart (12 on each sheet ). Don’t press them flat. I had enough dough left over for two more and baked them on a third small pan.
  11. Bake the cookies one tray at a time in the center of the oven. Keep the second tray 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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 suger 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 a healthier option. Raw honey contains antioxidants and has prebiotic oligosaccharides that help feed gut flora.

A batch of perfect ginger cookies coooling on a rack

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