Spices from India

Spices from India have been the soul of global cuisine since time immemorial. Indians have been well versed with growing spices and also with their culinary and medicinal applications much before the rest of the world. The lure of these spices has led to historic explorations, wars and conquests and the country continues to retain its stature as the Spice Bowl of the World.

Spices from India

Spices from India have been the soul of global cuisine since time immemorial. Indians have been well versed with growing spices and also with their culinary and medicinal applications much before the rest of the world. The lure of these spices has led to historic explorations, wars and conquests and the country continues to retain its stature as the Spice Bowl of the World.

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Easy Crisp Ginger Cookies

INSIDER STORY

Recipe for easy ginger cookies baked using melted organic jaggery as a substitute for molasses

It’s that time of the year, when all you want to do is tuck your feet inside a comforter, wrap your hands around a hot mug of something and have these spiced ginger cookies handy to dunk into your tea or hot chocolate, all of this while the silken voice of Ella Fitzgerald warms the room. A light snow and a fireplace would not be amiss here. However, the latter two are purely left to imagination for now. But yes, I am grateful for some semblance of winter in the city I live in, so I can at least savour the comforter, hot drink and cookie routine.

Ginger cookies have been my favourite for as long as I can remember. Our local biscuit company would sell these unabashedly spicy ginger cookies, beautifully encrusted with big sugar crystals. You don’t expect a kid to love ginger over chocolate, but that’s how I was. And even now, ginger cookies are my weakness. This weakness gets the better of any healthy eating goals I may have set for myself. If I have a packet of ‘Just Ginger’ (Bisk Farm) or Ginger Nut ( McVities) sitting in the snacks shelf, I can bid my no-sugar resolve goodbye.

But come Christmas, I had to bake a few cookies to get in the spirit of the season and this one recipe that Epicurious kept posting on its Twitter feed at regular intervals just called out to me. Dark brown, studded with sugar, I could almost sniff the aroma from the picture. I promptly favourited it, hoping I would forget about it but I didn’t, and ended up baking them yesterday.

This ginger cookies recipe on Epicurious called for dark molasses. I don’t have access to molasses, so I decided to do my own ‘jugaad’. I stock up on a variety of organic jaggery which is dark to the point of being almost black in colour. I melted some of this crushed jaggery with a splash of water and added all the ground spices to this, allowing it to simmer for a bit, and used this instead of the molasses. I reduced the remaining sugar in the recipe by a bit. The quantity of ground spices used in the recipe is spot on and gives it the exact store bought intense ginger-spice flavour, so I highly recommend that you stick to it. I also baked it for an extra 4 minutes, to make it crisp. I also accidentally used softened butter instead of melted butter and my cookies didn’t spread as much as the original image showed.

If you have access to molasses, then use 1/3 Cup dark molasses and add the ground spices to the dry ingredients and proceed with the recipe.

So here’s my recipe for the best ever ginger cookies baked in my kitchen, adapted from a recipe in the Epicurious.

Crisp Ginger Cookies

Recipe for easy ginger cookies baked using melted organic jaggery as a substitute for molasses - baked to a crisp, these dark brown cookies redolent of spices are perfect for dunking into your favourite hot beverage.

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a small sauce pan, melt the jaggery with the water and the cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. Allow this to simmer for 2-3 minutes until the spices get incorporated in the liquid. Remove and keep aside for a few minutes to let it cool slightly.
  • Mix the flour, baking soda, salt in a bowl using a whisk and keep aside.
  • Remove the spiced melted jaggery in a bowl. Add the softened butter, sugar and egg. Whisk this on high speed using a hand mixer, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Add the dry ingredients to this and fold until combined into a soft dough.
  • If this is too sticky to handle, then refrigerate this dough for 15-20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven at 190 C / 375 F. Line 2-3 baking trays with baking paper.
  • Spread the granulated sugar in a flat dish. Divide into 30 equal portions and roll into a smooth ball between your palms. Roll each portion in the sugar and place on prepared baking tray around 1.5" apart.
  • Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the trays midway for even baking, to get crisp cookies. For slightly chewier cookies, remove them in 10 minutes. Allow to cool on wire rack. Pack in airtight container.

RECIPE NOTES

These ginger cookies turn out beautifully dark brown. The sugar crystals give them a delightful crunch and the spice mix makes it irresistible to stop at just one. This recipe goes slightly over in the baking time, making them perfect for dunking in your favourite hot drink. Cookie dunkers of the world, UNITE.

If you flatten the cookies and then bake them, you can make delicious ice cream sandwiches by pressing a scoop of frozen vanilla ice cream between two cookies!

Recipe adapted from the Chewy Molasses Cookies on Epicurious

Dr. Nandita Iyer, a nutrition expert and food blogger from Bangalore, whose blog Saffrontrail.com has been featuring healthy vegetarian recipes since 2006.

This post first appeared on DEC 12, 2016 https://www.saffrontrail.com/easy-crisp-ginger-cookies-jaggery-recipe)

For more such healthy cooking recipes, you can subscribe to youtube.com/saffrontrail

 

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Jun 052017

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