Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lemon Glazed Candied Ginger Cookies

by Ann

Here I go again talking about something sweet when I claim that I am not a dessert fanatic!  The bottom line is that most homemade treats require recipes, while preparing a great steak or perfectly done asparagus does not.  Are you buying my reasoning, or questioning my truthfulness about not constantly raiding the cookie jar?

Speaking of which...  These cookies are fabulous!  I have written about my love of ginger already, but when I refer to ginger it is more along the lines of crystallized ginger or fresh ginger root rather than the dry spice that is in often a key ingredient in holiday baking recipes.

My dear friend Teri first introduced me to this recipe, which originally came from  Teri made the dough up and portioned it into cookie-sized balls that she froze, being able to take out as many as she needed for freshly baked cookies.  With the Valentine sugar cookie making experience fresh in my mind, I handled the dough the same way I did with that recipe -- I rolled the sticky dough between plastic wrap and waxed paper to the 1/4" thickness and then put the rolled dough in the fridge to harden up enough to cut.  I was glad I was using a metal biscuit cutter instead of a plastic cookie cutter because the cutter had to go through some of the ginger chunks.

Pictured below are ingredients that most people might not have on hand.  The crystallized ginger can be bought at specialty or farmers markets and stores that sell a good variety of spices.  The jar is Nielsen Massey vanilla bean paste.  Working at Sur la Table exposed me to this wonderful product (they sell it at the store, you can order it on Amazon, or even find it in discount stores like Ross or TJ Max).  The pastry chef at Sur la Table uses it as a replacement for any recipe that calls for vanilla extract in the same amounts.  The head chef said to use half as much as extract when he used it, so I went with that recommendation since the 2 tablespoons that this recipe calls for seems like an large amount.

 The ginger can be found at specialty markets (it's pricey), and the jar is Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste.

I used a heaping half cup of the crystallized ginger.
Be forewarned -- the ginger is difficult to cut , and it gets too gummy in the food processor.

The dough is sticky, so I divided it into three parts and rolled it into 1/4" thick disks to refrigerate prior to cutting.
Once hardened by refrigeration cookies can be cut and placed on  mat to bake.

Using a disposable pastry bag made glazing easy.   (It would have been easier if I'd used a spoon!)

Lemon Glazed Candied-Ginger Cookies

2 c all-purpose flour
½ t baking powder
½ t salt
¾ c unsalted butter,softened
1 c packed light-brown sugar
½ c candied ginger, chopped fine ( I used a heaping half cup)
1 large egg
2 T vanilla extract (I used 1 T vanilla bean paste)
2 c powdered sugar
2T finely grated lemon zest
2 t fresh lemon juice
1 T honey
2 T water
I add a dab of yellow food coloring paste to add color

1.       Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
2.       Cream butter and brown sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3.       Add ginger, beat for an additional 2 minutes.
4.       Beat in egg and vanilla.
5.       Add flour mixture, and beat on medium-low speed until dough comes together.
6.       Divide dough into two sections and refrigerate 1 hour – 3 days.  Dough is very sticky. 
A good way to do this is to roll the dough to ¼ inch rounds between plastic wrap or waxed paper, and refrigerate the flat rounds prior to cutting and cooking.
7.       Cut cooled dough into 2” circles. Place on a silicone mat or parchment paper lined cookie sheets ½ inch apart. Refrigerate cut cookies 10 minutes prior to baking.  (I did not do this because of my system the dough was still cool)
8.       Bake at 350 degrees, rotating half way through until cookies are set and edges are light gold; 12-14 minutes.  Transfer parchment with cookies to wire racks.  Let cool completely.  (Cookies can be stored for up to 3 days).
9.       Whisk powdered sugar, lemon zest, juice, honey, water and a pinch of salt in bowl until smooth.  Drizzle over cooled cookies.
Makes 5-6 dozen.


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