Remember Ginger from Gilligan’s Island? The hot, spicy redheaded vixen? Well, I do believe she was aptly named because ginger is all that and more. After all ginger is spicy, daring, and adds life to any dish.
It is the Hot Tamale Train of the spice world (for those of you who this metaphor was lost on…please refer to So You Think You Can Dance clips or just forget about it). This week, I have had ginger three different ways in three different days. Um–excuse me, mind on the baking if you please.
The holidays just seem to ooze ginger. And I want to know what on earth says Christmas better than sitting down with the fam and friends for a messy, flour-sprinkled gingerbread baking marathon?
That is exactly what we had yesterday. My kitchen was literally covered in molasses, flour, spices and cookie cutters. As we painted cookies, I witnessed fingers being licked with joy, creative juices flowing, kids’ eyes sparkling and smiles wide open.
These kids I am talking about range from twelve to seventeen and the biggest kid of the bunch was my husband who was piecing together three-D reindeer cookies. He carefully “sanded” down each joint so that they would fit together with a little royal icing Spackle so the reindeer could stand freely. The Rudolph is courtesy of my daughter. Aren’t they adorable? A little rustic perhaps, but at this house we are never going for perfection when we are baking and having fun. The emphasis is ALWAYS on HAVING FUN!
We have had ginger drop cookies (see top photo), gingerbread cookies and this morning, the crowning glory…my fave of the bunch…was gingerbread pancakes. Oh yeah. I said it…gingerbread pancakes. You can catch your breath if you like. They are soft, spicy, fluffy and absolutely everything you have ever wanted in a pancake and more. It would blow the minds of any breakfast guests…especially served with a big dollop of ginger spiced whipped cream alongside a hot cup of coffee doused with a hint of eggnog. Ooooh. La. La.
I am nothing if not a giver here because I am not just going to hoard my pancake recipe, I am going to share it with you so you can have them next weekend. See? Give, give, give.
Anyhow, back to the three ways with ginger. My ginger crinkle cookies are beautifully fluffy and soft so no crunch factor in those, unless you count the little dust of granulated sugar they are coated in, but the gingerbread, well those are the perfect lightly crisp type of gingerbread (especially if you don’t let them bake too long!). So have fun with these, and I challenge you to have ginger three ways in three days! Let me know how it goes!
Taken from my own imagination
Yields about a dozen medium-sized pancakes
2 c. all purpose flour
4 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
1 1/2 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cloves
3 T. brown sugar
2 T. molasses
2 c. 2% milk or other milk
4 T. canola oil
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour through the brown sugar.
Now get your griddle or large frying pan ready by putting a pat of butter and capful of canola oil onto your griddle or pan. Turn the stove on medium heat and grease your pan with the combination of butter and oil. Soak up excess oil with a paper towel (do not get paper towel anywhere near flame…obviously). The pan needs to heat up for a good five minutes before cooking the pancakes.
In a separate bowl or large liquid measuring cup, whisk together milk, molasses, eggs and oil. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once whisking only 10-15 times so that batter is just combined but there are still some lumps. Over mixing will cause the pancakes to be tough. Ladle pancake batter onto pan. Cook on the first side until bubbles start to form on the batter or take a peek with your spatula and flip it when it begins to look brown/golden. Cook another minute or two until pancakes look done. Do not press your spatula on top of the pancake, thinking that will help it cook all the way through. This would eliminate air pockets and thus create a denser, tougher pancake. That is not what we are going for here.
If you would like to serve it with ginger whipped cream, click the link.
Ginger Drop Cookies
Taken from the All American Cookie Cookbook, written by Nancy Baggett
****Buy this book for any baker on your gift list!!!! It is my all time favorite cookie “bible”. It is HUGE and is filled with my most tried and true cookie recipes.***
Yields about two dozen cookies.
You will need 2 baking sheets and parchment paper or Silpat mats
2 cups all purpose flour, loosely scooped (not packed)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick butter) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup white vegetable shortening
1 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. light or dark molasses
1 large egg
1/4 tsp. finely grated orange zest (orange part of skin…no white)
1/4 cup Turbinado sugar (coarsely ground) or granulated sugar for rolling the dough in before baking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats.
In a medium mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk together the flour through the cloves; set aside. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment) on medium speed, beat together the butter, shortening, brown sugar and molasses until well blended and fluffy. See batter below. Beat in the egg and orange zest until well blended and smooth. Beat in half of the flour mixture until evenly incorporated. Beat or stir in the remaining flour mixture until evenly incorporated. Let the dough stand for 5 minutes or until slightly firmed up.
Shape portions of the dough into generous one inch balls with lightly greased hands. I usually just lightly spray my hands with cooking spray. Roll the top of each ball in the the Turbinado sugar until lightly coated on the top half. Place on the baking sheets, spacing about two inches apart. Using your hand, lightly pat down the cookie tops just slightly.
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the upper third of the oven for 10-12 minutes or until barely firm in the centers and faintly browned at the edges. Cool on the pan for five minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for up to three days or freeze for up to a month.
Click this link for Gale Gand’s Gingerbread cut out cookies.