Ramandan Recipe: A salute to the sweet with ginger cookie recipe
Pandemic restrictions create an atmosphere of baking adventure at home.
I think there is something in the human spirit that hates a closed door.
Last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic closed the door on my family’s plans to travel to the U.S., we decided instead to explore the hidden treasure-spots of Saudi Arabia. Unable to visit the gym, we took up walking. Unable to visit some of our favorite local restaurants, we became more adventurous in creating new meals at home.
Take that, COVID-19!
These days, things seem to be opening up, slowly, but that spirit of exploration continues. For instance, a friend brought a bag of soft chewy ginger cookies to the office the other day, and my mind instantly started counting ingredients back home in the cupboard. That night, I vowed to make ginger cookies myself. And I did.
I have always loved the fragrance and tangy peppery taste of ginger. As a child, I remember sneaking away with handfuls of ginger snap cookies that my mother used to thicken the sauce (and add some tang) to a traditional beef stew called sauerbraten.
Later in life, my wife taught me how to finely chop sections of fresh ginger for her homemade curries. And even when it was available in stores, I came to prefer the taste of my own homemade ginger ale.
Here in the Kingdom, there is so much ginger (called zanjibayl in Arabic) available in so many forms, it is easy to come up with a recipe that will become a family classic. Ginger powder is essential for the peppery ginger flavor, but adding minced candied ginger (found at dried fruit shops) adds some punch.
- 2 and ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger powder
- 1/3 cup diced dried candied ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cups unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup molasses (try date molasses, if cane sugar molasses isn’t available)
- 1/3 cup white sugar
In a bowl, mix together flour, spices, baking soda and salt.
In a standing mixer, beat together the softened butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Then beat in the molasses, vanilla extract and egg.
Turn the mixer down to low speed and add in flour a little at a time
Preheat oven to 350F
Line 2 cookie sheets with baking paper
Pour the 1/3 cup sugar into a small bowl. Form the dough into balls of about 1 tablespoon in size, rolling them in your hands briefly, then roll the balls in the sugar bowl to cover
Place the dough balls on cookie sheet, with an inch or two between them, and bake for 8-10 minutes, one tray at a time.