One of my favorite commercial cookies
is was Newman’s Ginger-O’s. I love the fancy-pants ginger flavor and I am a sucker for sandwich cookies. But while the idea of never eating those again was sad, it probably was a good thing because they were just a touch too sweet aside from being full of gluten.
But we missed ginger cookies. I made several GF varieties through the years and not one of them is memorable. But one day, rather recently, I was looking again for something ginger and came across an Alton Brown recipe. The recipe called for three different variations of ginger in the cookie. That would be my kind of cookie – ultra redundancy. I thought it would be worthy of experimentation to re-do it gluten-free.
Several batches later, depending on what I used for flour and binder, the cookie came out crispy thin (I like those) or cakey-puffy (Cap’t Awesome’s preference). I couldn’t quite duplicate it from one time to the next until I nailed the flour mix and binder. I added more ginger and this time, popped it up to another level by turning them into sandwich cookies with a ginger-confection center.
And yeah, I did miss those Newman cookies more than I thought because I was incredibly happy to have made this version. You can eat the cookies plain, or whip up the filling and stuff them into sandwich cookies. Either way, they are quite good.
For the cookie texture? We settled on a happy middle. They are especially cakey when warm, but as they cool, the edges will get crispy and the center will be chewy. A good combination. And if your heart is set on crispy, bake them a couple of minutes more.
Remember to weigh the ingredients because too much flour will make the cookie crumble and not in a good way.
(adapted in part from Alton Brown’s Ginger Snaps)
Be sure to use fresh ginger root, and make certain your ground ginger is not stale. Some people add a dash of pepper to pop the ginger – I like it both ways, so sprinkle a little pepper in there if it makes you happy.
Be sure to watch these – they go from perfectly done to quite crispy really quickly. Err on the side of slightly underdone (even if your goal is a snappy cookie) because as they cool, they will crisp up a little bit.
The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days if you want to make it ahead. Let it come to room temperature before baking.
A dusting of powdered sugar before serving makes them look dressy.
The filling will not stay soft because it contains no butter. Be sure to use it right after it is mixed. If you leave it sitting around, the filling will get pretty hard – so you really want to smear it on the cookies and create that sandwich right after it is mixed.
Makes about 3 dozen plain cookies and half again as many sandwich cookies
- 10 ounces GF flour (4 oz potato starch, 2 oz brown rice flour, 2 oz oat flour, 1 oz superfine white rice flour and 1 oz teff flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger (make sure it is not stale)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (sprinkle of pepper optional)
- 6 ounces dark brown sugar
- 5 ounces (1 stick plus a tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 ounces molasses (organic blackstrap preferred)
- 1 large egg plus one large egg white
- 3 teaspoons fresh finely grated ginger (use a food processor)
- 5 ounces coarsely chopped candied ginger
- 2 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 4-6 teaspoons cream
Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment or silpats.
In a small bowl, weigh the flours and add the baking soda, salt, ginger, cloves and mix. Mix in the chopped candied ginger and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the sugar and butter. Mix with the paddle attachment until fluffy.
Add the egg, egg white, and fresh ginger. Mix thoroughly.
Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. Using a spatula, stir in the dry ingredients all at once just until combined.
Scoop by tablespoons onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. For consistent circles shapes, use a scoop.
Bake for 6 minutes, then rotate and bake for about 5-6 minutes more for crispy edges and chewy centers. Bake a minute more for a totally crispy cookie, but don’t let them burn.
Remove from oven and cool for a minute or two. Transfer to a baking rack to completely cool before adding the filling.
Sift sugar into a small bowl. Sift in the ground ginger. Mix. Using a spoon, add the vanilla and a little bit of cream just until it comes together. You want it to be thick. The filling will be thicker than regular frosting. Taste and adjust flavorings if needed.
When the cookies are quite cold, match them in pairs and slather on some filling – making double stuff or regular sandwich cookies. Save some cookies to eat without any filling. And have a happy ginger moment.