I have a particular fondness for foods seasoned with ginger. Sometimes sweet, sometimes spicy, sometimes acidic, and always aromatic – ginger is one of my feel good foods. With good reason. In its fresh form, ginger has been used medicinally since ancient times. I frequently turn to ginger to calm an upset tummy. This time of year I like to combine ginger with some soda and a splash of whiskey, for, you know, medicinal reasons…
Many fall and winter foods feature ginger. Even in its dry form, ginger lends a cheerful warmth to holiday recipes. This time of year I find myself craving combinations of ginger, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom. The perfume of fresh spices has the power to transport me to fantasy street markets in exotic places. I mix various combinations of warm winter spices into everything from pancakes to the pots of water I let simmer on the stove until the aroma has spread throughout the house.
One of the most traditional places to find warm wintry spices is in desserts. I particularly love gingerbread and gingersnaps. The “real,” freshly baked, variety are my favorite. I only get those one or twice a year. But, I have a confession. I like to keep a stash of Ginger Family Cookies tucked in the back of the pantry. Two or three tucked alongside a steaming mug of tea when the light starts waning too early in the afternoon feels like a major indulgence.
Random aside: The cookies used to be called “Gingermen.” I guess the makers wanted to give the tempting morsels a broader appeal. Perhaps they thought a bag full of bachelor cookies was too standoffish. A few years ago the cookie elves appear to have worked a little match making magic. Things must have moved pretty fast! Now you can buy a box containing a proud papa, a pleasantly plump mama, and a his and hers pair of ginger children joined merrily at their hands and feet.
Unattached, or as a family, these are crunchy cookies. I’m not going to lie, there is a satisfying snap when you bite into their jolly little faces.
Sadly, there is a downside to a bag of sweet and spicy little cookie people in my cupboard. Somedays it is dark all day, and I am tired, and mopey, and I just want a little something to perk me up. On those days a bag of adorable little cookies is dangerous.
To be able to keep a stash of ginger cookie goodness with far less temptation, I came up with a gingersnap version of an ice cream topping that I made a few times over the summer. My family has been sprinkling a teaspoon or two over frozen yogurt for a fancy treat. I also used about a teaspoon of Ginger Cookie Crumbles to make the Pumpkin Pie Parfaits. It has the bright spice of a ginger snap with a slight graham cracker taste and a little ping of saltiness at the end.
Delightfully, the crumbles are a bit strange to munch on its own. I am able to keep a jar of ginger cookie goodness in the freezer, without the temptation to over indulge.
You can find more recipes using these spices throughout my Eat Merrily & Be Light book! To get a free copy, click the link in the sidebar or below this post.
- 1 cup of Graham Cracker crumbs, you'll need approximately 16 squares (120 grams) of plain Graham Crackers
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp fine sea salt
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 14 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat your oven to 275F.
- Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Drizzle the butter in the the mixture and stir until you have a perfect sandcastle sand consistency.
- Spread the mixture evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir gently to break the large pieces into little pebbles. Return to the oven and continue baking for another 10 minutes.
- Allow the mixture to cool before storing in a tightly sealed container.