Baking is in my blood.
My mother grew up in a bakery in the Philippines. Her Chinese immigrant parents ran a small but successful bakery, and the whole family lived upstairs. My mom’s daily routine went something like this: wake up early, work in the bakery, go to school, work in the bakery, study late at night under a mosquito net.
By the time my mom immigrated to the States, she could make almost anything with ease. Or, if she didn’t know how to make something, she would figure it out. To me, my mom was a superwoman. As a little girl, I was always at my mother’s side in the kitchen. Her specialty dish was her chiffon cake. It was a simple cake that was light and airy. It was baked in a special cake pan with the hole in the middle, and it was never, ever frosted. Some would scoff at the idea of a cake without frosting, but to me and my brothers, this cake was everything to us. Whenever my mom made this dish, I would watch her separate the egg whites and yolks, and whip up a marvelous meringue for her batter. I often wanted to help break the eggs, but she always insisted that I only watch. I was eager to help, and now I know I couldn’t because she didn’t want to risk having the whites tainted with any yolk. Otherwise, her meringue batter would fail.
Eventually, when I was old enough, I was baking cookies on my own. I would spend my school breaks trying new cookie recipes taken from my mom’s small cookbook collection. At Christmas time, I would give away plates filled with a dozen different types of cookies. Many recipes were taken out of this cookbook. It’s so worn that the cover has detached!
As a child, the kitchen was my playground and today, it still is. These days there are all sorts of dishes and treats that come out of my kitchen. For my first blog post, I wanted to pay tribute to what got me started in the kitchen…COOKIES!
My Double Ginger Cookie is a soft and chewy cookie that is a favorite amongst my friends and family. Freshly grated ginger root is folded in the batter, and then small rounds of cookie dough are rolled into a crystallized ginger/sugar mix.
When shopping for crystallized ginger, I try to look for ginger chunks instead of slices. This is because I like to make my dices BIG. I just love the flavor of ginger! One time in my local restaurant supply store, I found some ginger bits. I was so excited because it meant I could save time chopping this stuff up. But sadly, I was disappointed because the bits were small and too dry, which meant a sacrifice to flavor.
When they bake, the sweet aroma wafts throughout the house, and is able to seduce my teenage son out of his room. As he runs down the stairs, he will declare, “I smell ginger cookies!”
When the cookies are ready to come out of the oven, the cookies will look puffy, like in this picture here.
But after a few minutes, they will flatten out into yummy goodness.
Cookies are a once-in-while food, so when I make them, I try to find ways to improve their nutritional value without sacrificing taste.
For these cookies, I decided to substitute half the white flour in this recipe with half whole wheat pastry flour. Usually when you tell someone that you used whole wheat flour, they give you that “look,” like you just ruined a perfectly good day. Trust me, no one can taste the difference with this substitution. Just make sure it’s whole wheat PASTRY flour and not just regular whole wheat flour.
And here’s a little baking tip. The best way to measure out flour is by weight. I find that weighing flour will yield a more consistent product, than measuring by volume. If you don’t have a scale at home, then the next best way to measure flour is to use a spoon to scoop the flour from your container into your measuring cup, then level off with a dinner knife. Never, ever just stick your measuring cup in the flour canister. You’ll end up using too much flour. I’ll talk more about this in future posts.
In the meantime, you’ll likely find me in the kitchen making cookies – because baking is in my blood.
- Serves: 4 dozen cookies
- Serving size: 1 cookie
- Calories: 80
- Fat: 2.5g
- Saturated fat: 1.5g
- Trans fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 14 g
- Sugar: 8 g
- Sodium: 40 mg
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 1 g
- Cholesterol: 10 mg
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup molasses
- 2⅔ cups flour* (11.75 oz) (*try using ½ white flour and ½ whole wheat pastry flour)
- ¾ cup raw sugar
- ½ cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
- In a mixing bowl, cream butter. Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Beat until combined. Beat in the egg and molasses.
- Mix in the flour, adding a little bit at a time.
- Shape into 1 inch balls.
- In a small bowl, combine the raw sugar and chopped crystallized ginger. Roll the balls in the sugar mixture.
- Place coated balls on a cookie sheet, preferably lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.
- Bake at 375°F for 9 minutes. Cookies should look slightly puffy, and the edges should be a nice brown color. Cookies will flatten out when cooled, and will have a wonderful chewiness.