Category Archives: ginger

Twenty-Five Days of Cookies: Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

cookie

Christmas is eleven days (gulp) away and what better way is there to countdown to the big event than to feature a cookie recipe each day? Think of it as a cookie recipe advent calendar. And to fill that advent calendar I’m featuring twenty five of my favorite holiday cookie recipes that are sure to fill your holidays with cheer. Bake them to fill your cookie trays, bring them to a cookie swap or eat them yourself; they are guaranteed to bring about holiday joy. And if you love baking as much as I do, making them is a fun filled gift unto itself. Enjoy!

The fragrant spices of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg are hallmarks of the holiday season and can be found in everything from sweet treats and drinks to savory treats. When you introduce the perennial favorite of chocolate into the flavor mix you have a sure winner. And this is definitely the case with these soft and chewy cookies from King Arthur Flour. These cookies are full of flavor and pack a punch but because of their dark color they hide the fact they are also filled with bits of chocolate. One bite will have you addicted and coming back for more. And best of all, these cookies are so easy to make. So why don’t you go ahead and bake some up today. While your at it double the recipe so you have plenty to share.

CHOCOLATE GINGERBREAD COOKIES

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1 cup miniature chocolate chips

5 tablespoons sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Combine the flour, baking soda, spices, salt in cocoa in a medium sized bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the butter with the brown sugar until light and creamy. 
  • Add the molasses and beat until combined.
  • Beat in the dry ingredients, then stir in the chips. 
  • Scoop the dough a tablespoon at a time. Roll the top portion of each dough ball in the sugar.
  • Place the unbaked cookies 1 1/2″ apart, sugar side up, onto the prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until their surface begins to crack. Remove from the oven, cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.

Yield: 24-28  cookies.

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Twenty-Five Days of Cookies: Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Biscotti

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Christmas is twenty-four days (gulp) away and what better way is there to countdown to the big event than to feature a cookie recipe each day? Think of it as a cookie recipe advent calendar. And to fill that advent calendar I’m featuring twenty five of my favorite holiday cookie recipes that are sure to fill your holidays with cheer. Bake them to fill your cookie trays, bring them to a cookie swap or eat them yourself; they are guaranteed to bring about holiday joy. And if you love baking as much as I do, making them is a fun filled gift unto itself. Enjoy!

I love, love, love these biscotti from the Smitten Kitchen. First of all, what is there not to love about biscotti? These crisp cookies are perfect alongside a cup of coffee or tea. And because they are meant to be crisp, they only get better with age which makes them the perfect cookie to make for your holiday cookie trays. (Imagine what it would be like if all of your cookies needed to be eaten within a couple of days of being baked!). And biscotti are versatile. While almond biscotti are a classic nothing says holiday season like gingerbread. So why not make a biscotti that tastes like gingerbread? I like the addition of dark chocolate chips, because everything really is better with chocolate, but these are also good without the addition.

CHOCOLATE CHIP GINGERBREAD BISCOTTI

For the cookies:

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
A few grinds of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons  vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups  dark chocolate chips
1 large egg white

For the topping:

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Line one large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and pepper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars,  melted butter, the eggs and vanilla.
  • Add wet ingredients along with any optional additions (nuts or chocolate) to dry mixture and stir to combine.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed. It’s going to seem a bit soft and sticky; it’s a-okay.
  • Divide dough in half. Using floured hands, transfer first half to the prepared baking sheet and form it into a slightly flatted log about 11 inches by 2 1/2 inches. Repeat with second half of dough.
  • Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until a little foamy and loose. Brush over top and sides of each log.
  • Bake logs until golden brown all over, about 25 minutes. Transfer tray to cooling rack; let cool about 25 minutes, until lukewarm.
  • Gently transfer each log to a cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife and gently sawing motion, cut logs on the diagonal into 1/2-inch wide slices.
  • Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl then dip both sides of the cut cookies into the mixture.
  • Arrange slices, a cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for another 10 to 12 minutes, until golden underneath.
  • Turn each biscotti over and bake for a final 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly bronzed all over. Let cool on the rack.

The biscotti can be kept in an airtight container for several weeks.

Yields: 30-35 cookies

 

Moroccan Beef Tagine

tagine

I feel like we are in the calm lull between back to school craziness and the madness of the holiday season. The cooler weather has been inspiring my cooking and has me wanting to spend more time in the kitchen putting together satisfying and comforting dishes. And because some of the best dishes are those that take time to make, this is the season to make them.  While the dishes take time to prepare much of the time is spent on the cooking rather than the preparations. And as these dishes cook their aroma fills the house with wonderful scents that give you a hint of the meal that is to come.

I’ve adapted this dish from a Jamie Oliver recipe and like so many of his recipes, it doesn’t disappoint. It is rich, flavorful and thoroughly satisfying. If you don’t have a tagine, or have one but also have a very small European sized oven that can’t accommodate a tagine, make this dish is a heavy, ovenproof Dutch oven. The slow cooked results will be the same. And if you want to make a fancy presentation like I do for company, I transfer the cooked stew into my tangine and serve it at the table.

MOROCCAN BEEF TAGINE

For the spice rub:

 

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

 

1 tablespoon ras el hanout spice mix

 

1 tablespoon ground cumin

 

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

 

1 tablespoon ground ginger

 

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

For the tagine:

1 pound stew beer

  • To make the spice mix, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Place the beef into a large bowl, sprinkle with the spice mix and use your hands to massage it into the meat.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  • When you’re ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a tagine or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the meat and cook, tossing to ensure it is seared on all sides for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the onion and coriander stalks to the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and stock to the pot.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Add the squash, prunes and additional stock if the mixture looks too dry. Cover the pot and continue to cook for an additional 1 1/2 hours until the meat is fork tender.

Adjust the seasonings and serve alongside couscous and topped with the slivered almonds.

Serves 4

Gingerbread Bundt Cake

cake

The warm and spicy flavors of gingerbread are one of my favorite flavors and smells of this time of year. The combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and of course ginger immediately take me back to my childhood when a warm slice of cake topped with real whipped cream made a regular appearance on our dessert table.

This recipe, from King Arthur Flour, puts one of my favorite cakes in a new shape and tops it with a very adult icing. I personally love the flavor of rum in the icing. However, if rum isn’t your thing, feel free to substitute water or even a mixture of rum and water when making the icing. Or you could skip the icing and serve the cake topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

1/2 cup molasses

1 cup water

For the glaze:

1/3 cup rum or water

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 10- to 12-cup bundt-style pan and set aside.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in the molasses.
  • Add the flour mixture in three additions alternately with the water, starting and ending with the flour. Mix just until smooth. 
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
  • Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  • While the cake is baking, make the glaze by stirring together the water, spices and sugar in a small sauce pan set over low heat.
  • Stir occasionally until the sugar as completely dissolved. Set aside.
  • Remove the cake from the oven, cool it in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack. 
  • Brush the cake with the glaze, and allow it to cool completely before serving.

Yields: 12-16 slices

Maple Ginger Chicken & Apples

maple chix

Its been a while (way too long in fact) since I’ve delved in the Yankee Kitchen Ninja website in search of dinner inspiration. Every time I check out this wonderfully creative site I come away with a whole list of dinner and baking ideas. And of course my recent foray wasn’t any different and one look had me breaking out my baking dishes and planning dinner.

This easy and delicious recipe for maple ginger chicken and apples actually comes from Maple by Katie Webster and is the perfect fall dinner. The ingredients are simple, yet when combined together, are  delicious and turn ordinary chicken into anything but.  Everything about this dish simply makes me homesick for New England.

For best results, marinate the chicken overnight before cooking. This requires a bit of planning but the results don’t disappoint.

MAPLE GINGER CHICKEN & APPLES
1 shallot, finely sliced
3/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup dark pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus additional sprigs for the pan
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks–I like to use a combination of the two
3 medium apples, peeled, cored and quartered

  • Combine the shallot, apple cider, maple syrup, ginger, vinegar, thyme leaves, salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag. Seal the bag and use your hands to massage all of the ingredients together.
  • Place the bag on a large rimmed dish, add the chicken parts then reseal the bag.
  • Ensure that as much of the chicken is covered in the marinade and let sit in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 12 hours, turning the bag occasionally to redistribute the chicken and the marinade.
  • When you are ready to cook preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat it lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Take the chicken from the bag and arrange the pieces on the baking sheet.
  • Nestle the apples around the chicken, add the reserved thyme sprigs and pour some of the marinade over the chicken.
  • Bake, basting occasionally, for about an hour or until fully cooked.
  • Serve, topped with the sauce, alongside noodles or potatoes.

Serves 4

Vietnamese Beef w/ Black Pepper & Citrus

photo 3-83

It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Like so many of the best recipes, this one has been adapted from its original form.  Originally published in Fine Cooking magazine, it was adapted by the Noble Pig food blog and the I made my own alternations to make it my own.  I like to think this recipe, like others before it, just keeps getting better with age.  And even if I must say so myself, this recipe is good.  As is the case with my favorite recipes, this one cooks up quickly.  Because it cooks fast and you don’t want to overcook the meat, make sure you have all of the ingredients prepped before you begin cooking.  I served this over jasmine rice which I started cooking before I began prepping the other ingredients.  The result?  A perfectly timed meal that goes from panty to table in less than 30 minutes.

VIETNAMESE BEEF w/ BLACK PEPPER & CITRUS

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

6 cloves garlic, minced

1″ piece fresh ginger, finely grated

3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds rib eye steak, cut into 3/4 inch pieces

3 tablespoons chopped, salted peanuts

2 scallions, finely sliced

  • In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, lime juice, orange juice, sugar, and fish sauce, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Set aside.
  • In another small bowl, stir together the garlic, ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the black pepper.  Set aside.
  • Generously season the beef with salt and pepper.
  • In a 12 inch skillet, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil until it shimmers.  Swirl it to coat the pan then add half of the beef in a single layer.
  • Cook the beef, without stirring, until well browned, 1 to 2 minutes.  Using tongs, turn the pieces over and brown on the other side.
  • Remove the cooked beef to a bowl and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil to the pan.  When the oil shimmers, repeat the cooking process with the remainder of the beef.
  • Put the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in the skill and heat until shimmering hot.  Add the garlic mixture and cook stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Return the beef and any of the accumulated juices to the pan and stir to combine.
  • Add the soy sauce mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the beef is coated and the sauce thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Serve immediately sprinkled with the peanuts and scallions.

Serves 4

Chinese Five Spice Pork & Noodles

DSC_0017

It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

I first discovered Chinese five spice powder when it showed up in my spice order as a free sample and I was immediately hooked.  Chinese five spice powder is an intriguing combination of cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, fennel, and anise.  When added to simple ingredients such as pork and noodles it brings the ordinary to extra-ordinary.  Even better, this dish is fast which is the perfect way to end a long week. The original recipe, from Fine Cooking Magazine, calls for using fresh Chinese egg noodles, an ingredient I have yet to be able to find here in Albania. You can make your own or use any long fresh noodle you can find in the refrigerator case of your grocery store.

CHINESE FIVE SPICE PORK & NOODLES

1/3 cup salted peanuts

1/4 cup bacon, cut into thin strips

2 medium cloves, garlic, coarsely chopped

1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 cup peanut oil

3/4 pound ground pork

1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 scallions, trimmed and sliced

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

3/4 pound fresh egg noodles or other fresh pasta

  • Fill a medium-sized pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Coarsely chop the peanuts in a food processor.  Transfer to a small bowl.
  • Place the bacon, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes in the food processor and pulse to finely chop.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy skillet set over medium heat.  Add the bacon mixture and cook, breaking it apart with a spoon until the bacon renders most of its fat and darkens somewhat, about 4 minutes.
  • Raise the heat to medium-high and add the pork, five spice powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.  Cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until it looses its raw color, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the scallions, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and sugar.  Keep warm over low heat.
  • Cook the pasta in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes.  Drain and put it in a large bowl.  Toss in the pork mixture.
  • Divide the pork and noodles amongst four shallow bowls and sprinkle with the reserved peanuts.

Serves 4

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