Chewy Ginger Cookies with Cardamom and Black Pepper

I must confess: last week’s lemon ricotta cookies were just a warmup. They were pretty tasty, but my baking focus was really elsewhere.

You see, the pressure was on. I needed some fabulous cookies to bring to the Serious Eats cookie exchange this week. Those people judge cookies for a living. I needed something good: something spicy, chewy, and a little unexpected. This recipe caught my eye because it included cardamom and black pepper, and oil instead of butter. Supposedly the oil helps keep them chewy, and it also means you can whip them up quickly with a wooden spoon.

To deepen the spicy flavor, I added a bit of unsweetened cocoa and grated fresh ginger. I recommend you do the same. The dough keeps well in the fridge, so you can double the recipe and bake them up over the course of several days.

I arrived at the Serious Eats headquarters and was slightly saddened to realize I wasn’t the only one with gingersnaps in tow.  And I hadn’t carefully weighed each ball of dough (wow), and I hadn’t added lard or espresso powder or cornmeal or chiles. So much for unexpected.

But these cookies are delicious. They’re fragrant and spicy and warming and complex. They beat Trader Joe’s triple-gingersnaps by a mile (and I love those things.) In fact, my husband just pronounced them some of the best cookies he’s ever had which is pretty serious praise from a guy who can’t be trusted with a plate of cookies in the room.

And of course, the cookie exchange at Serious Eats wasn’t a competition, and the editors and contributors are all lovely folks, and we talked recipes and cooking and restaurants and beer (and I tried to control my jealousy of their incredible office cookbook collection) and a good time was had by all.

See more from the Serious Eats cookie swap here.

Chewy Ginger Cookies with Cardamom and Black Pepper
Adapted from The Liquor Control Board of Ontario via Baking Bites

2 cups all purpose flour
1 T ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil (I used safflower oil)
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup chopped candied ginger
1/4 cup coarse sugar, for rolling (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ground ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cocoa, cardamom, and pepper.

In a large bowl, beat together sugar and vegetable oil. Beat in egg, grated fresh ginger, and molasses until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture until well combined, then add in candied ginger.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls, roll in coarse sugar if desired and place on baking sheet. Bake 6-7 minutes until just set.

Let cookies cool for 3-5 minutes on cookie sheet, then remove to a wire rack until cool.

Makes 3 dozen.

In baking, cookies, ginger

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