Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chewy ginger cookies with cardamom and black pepper

Yesterday, during my regular rounds of food blogs, something led me to Pithy and Cleaver, which for unknown (and now remedied) reasons was not part of my daily reading. I came across a recipe for chewy ginger cookies with cardamom and black pepper and for the rest of the day could think of nothing else.

This happens to me sometimes, most powerfully with the root beer cake.  (Although I don't think this happened, I like to envision myself reading about the root beer cake and floating away from my computer in a robotic fog to the store where I purchased all the ingredients--including the bundt pan, as you may recall--and making the cake, all the while measuring and mixing with glassy eyes as if under a spell.) This may be an exaggeration, but sometimes a recipe takes hold in my head and I can't do anything until I make it.

It happened with these cookies yesterday. Luckily, this time I had all the ingredients on hand, so no trancelike trip to the store was necessary. Once I got home from work and got the dog walked and fed, I began baking. Frances settled down on her special kitchen rug (equidistant from the cutting board and the fridge so she can quickly reach any dropped bits) and watched me.

I was in the midst of rolling the dough into little balls when my sister called from New Jersey.

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"Making ginger cookies," I replied nonchalantly. She seemed surprised, and jealous that we didn't live closer.

While I was chatting with her, the husband arrived home and looked at the sheet pan, half-filled with sugar-crusted gingery orbs. He also looked surprised. His look translated to, "What the what?!"

Ginger cookies, I mouthed.

One thing especially cool about this recipe, and what drew me to it in the first place, is that it calls for my favorite spice, cardamom. I've already written a love letter to cardamom here, so I will spare you another long-winded tribute. Basically, I think it's the bomb--full of ginger and pepper and earthy spice-- but tragically underused.

I also like that these cookies bake for 7 minutes. So in no time at all, I was admiring my lovely little cookies, which I stacked up to make them look arty.

I brought the husband a pre-dinner cookie to enjoy with his beer while he cursed Comcast for not airing the Kentucky basketball game, which, much the way I had been with these cookies, he had been looking forward to all day. The cookie seemed good enough to mollify him, though briefly. I thought they were outstanding--spicy, a little sweet, and as soft and chewy as promised--no gingersnaps here. Not to get ahead of myself, but these would make dynamite ice cream sandwich cookies.

The ingredient list is a bit unusual; in addition to the cardamom and black pepper, it also calls for a tiny amount of cocoa powder, as well as fresh grated ginger, and crystallized ginger, which I didn't have. Although I probably wouldn't have included it even if I had it because I don't care for junk in my cookies unless we're talking chocolate chips or possibly toffee. You can keep your nuts, dried fruit, and dessicated ginger nubs (which I will eat by themselves--just not nestled into cookies).

Next time I would add more cardamom, and a little more fresh ginger, but that's just me. They are quite delicious just as they are. So, if you are on the hunt for a perfect ginger cookie recipe, give this a try. With their pantry-friendly ingredient list and super-quick baking time, you could be eating one of these fabulous, fragrant cookies in no time flat.


  1. Oh my. Those sound amazing. Hm, would the crystallized ginger have left chunks? I've found it tends to melt, but I'm usually using it in sauces so it gets simmered a bit at least.

  2. Now all I can think about are ice cream sandwiches!

  3. Ginger, cardamom and black pepper are three ingredients that I like and use often. But I can say I have never thought to put the three in a cookie. But I'm game to try. Thanks...

  4. My mouth is watering for these, but I don't have two of the necessary ingredients! All the DC supermarket shelves are bare, so I'll just have to look forward to a non-snowy day to make these!

  5. I absolutely LOVE cardamom and am glad you posted this recipe - I want to use it more often!

  6. These look awesome! And I am a total ginger fanatic, so I'm totally drooling over these.

  7. Haha! I still have dreamy visions of the root beer bundt cake too. : ) It's definitely one of my favorite desserts!!

    I'm intrigued with your cookies. I'm bookmarking them right now.

  8. Hmmm, I can smell them in my imagination....

  9. Very arty indeed Hungry Dog! I love cardamon, ginger and this post :) And like you, I sometimes see things that have "must bake immediately" written all over it. This is defintiely a must try very, very, very, soon.(And I will be using the crystallised ginger ;p)

  10. seeing pepper in a cookie recipe automatically bumps it up in my to-make list. plus, i'm sure the aroma was just heavenly.
    meanwhile, frances is brilliant--good for her for scoping out the most advantageous sleeping point. :)

  11. Bob: you might be right about the crys. ginger--I have never used it.

    Camille: right?! Me too!

    George: Definitely give them a try.

    Ash: Let me know what you think if you make them (and sorry about the snow!)

    Chef AImee & Food Gal: I hpe you both try these.

    oneordinaryday: I don't know why I haven't made that cake again. I'm STILL obsessed with it!

    tamilyn: you should smell them in real life :)

    shaz: thanks! You would definitely like these but I'm sure you would put your own great spin on them.

    grace: Frances is brilliant indeed! :)

  12. Yeah, I was more than a little bit sorry we don't live closer--but it's not just about the cookies! I think I'll make these for my Chinese New Year's bash next week...

  13. YUM. These cookies are inspired! The mix of cardamom and pepper? You're brilliant. I don't usually crave ginger cookies, but with that combination of flavors, I can see myself becoming a convert to the cult of ginger cookie cravings. Where's the manifesto??

  14. Jary: If you do, let me know how they turn out! BTW they do stay nice and chewy for a few days.

    denise: give them a try--and maybe bulk up the pepper, ginger, and the cardamom to make them even spicier.