An old Quaker recipe (no, not the Oats guys) courtesy of the Doubleday Cookbook. These have a nice, light flavor; and the tiny, little hit you get from the crystallized ginger is lovely. If you feel like doing a ginger themed desert – fold some of the leftover ginger bits into softened good vanilla ice cream and re freeze. Call it gingerpalooza!
And before you look at the amounts and go: huh? YUP – I have two different versions of the same cookbook with this recipe in it – about 20 years and no doubt several editions apart. These are the correct amounts, and no, there is no salt called for. Both books also STRONGLY advise against using anything but butter. I’m just sayin’…
•1/2 cup butter at room temperature
•1/3 cup sugar
•1 egg, well beaten
•3/4 cup sifted flour
•1/2 tsp vanilla
•Crystallized ginger pieces (you can find jars in the spice aisle – or check out the bagged version at your friendly local spice merchant) – enough for one raisin-sized piece per cookie – or, a good scatter if you’re feeling reckless
Preheat oven to 350º
Cream the butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue beating until light and creamy. Beat in the egg, then mix in the flour and vanilla.
The recipe goes right into dropping the dough by the half teaspoonful onto a lightly greased baking pan, but next time, I think I will let the dough rest and firm up in the fridge for an hour or so – which I certainly would have done THIS time, had I thought to read the section preamble in the book where it recommends doing just that. Harummph.
Carrying on: drop the dough by the 1/2 teaspoonful onto your lightly greased baking sheet. Leave ample room for the dough to spread – which it will; I would recommend no more than twelve cookies per sheet. Press some of the ginger into the center of each cookie and bake for eight to ten minutes; or until the cookies are spread out and ringed with tan. You’ll end up with around 40 cookies.
A side note here: we all know by now that my oven is, at the least, wildly off, so I usually adjust my cooking temps down by 25º. Even so, these cookies cooked up in a clean, uncrowded (if wildly off) oven in about five minutes – so you might want to keep an eye on them.
Remove from the oven and transfer at once to wire racks to cool. Pop one or three into your mouth to check for quality…
I had this recipe once, and I’ve been hunting it for over 20 years. I routinely tripled the recipe; it doesn’t last long! My mother made a solemn ritual of carefully sampling each tray to be sure of product quality. Then she’d eat the rest. I think I managed to get 20 into a cookie tin once. Those she ate the following day. I thought they were wonderful, too. The cookie itself is so delicate, and the ginger ‘bite’ is perfect. I never did firm up the dough… And I just found myself wondering what else might go well on top…