I think every kitchen needs that perfect ginger cookie. You know the one I mean.
The one that is crisp on the outside, but gorgeously chewy on the inside. The one that isn’t afraid to show off all the ginger that it can, along with a few other spices. The one that makes the entire house smell like a dream when the tray of them comes out of the oven.
This is that cookie. I hadn’t posted a ginger cookie until now, because I was waiting to be introduced to this one. It’s like meeting your husband to be- you just know when he’s the One. I have tried so many recipes throughout the years, with mediocre results. Mostly, they just failed in the texture aspect. But not being gingery enough is just as bad in my books.
Mairlyn Smith’s new cookbook, ‘Peace, Love and Fibre’ is an ode to everything that she holds dear to her life. She talks family, friends, humour, cups of tea in her special place, taking out the good china instead of just staring at it behind the glass hutch doors (#UseYourGoodStuff), and most of all, our overall heath, thanks to a high fibre diet. The intro to the book showcases all the reasons we should be revisiting our diets and daily routines; drinking water, walking; and gives a great overview of the benefits of fibre to our well-being. She even goes there… the colonoscopy! I’ll be totally honest here, and bare my soul just a tad. I just had my first colonoscopy a few months back (tmi?) Guess what… it was absolutely no biggie at all!! These days they have refined the entire process. Even the yucky drink we need to take for 24 hours beforehand didn’t taste alltogether horrible. And the time in the room- totally flew by thanks to fabulous anesthesia! One minute I was meeting the staff, the next minute I was being escorted to my recovery chair. And absolutely no discomfort. I got my cookie and some juice, and the doctor came by. “You’re as clean as a whistle. I don’t want to see you for 10 years.” Yay!!
In no small part, that diagnosis owed itself to a high fibre diet. So Mairlyn’s book just sings to me. With her unique brand of humour and tongue-in-cheek approach to the subject, she makes fibre fun. And worth including in our daily meal planning. The book is filled with recipes from breakfasts and snacking, through salads, soups, veggie sides, mains and even some treats at the end. All the bright fruit and veg take centre stage, along with healthy high fibre legumes and grains. I applaud her use of outside-the-box grains like wheatberries, plenty of seeds and nuts, and flours that we may not use often enough, like barley flour. The recipes may be high in fibre, but they are also high in flavour. Fruit and fresh veg are almost everywhere! There are so many recipes that I have marked to make, once the warm months arrive. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t comfort meals as well, like bolognese, beans and rice, chilli, and soups. Including the recipe that started this entire blog post: Spicy Ginger Molasses Cookies.
Now you may be thinking, how are these cookies high fibre? First of all she tweaked an old recipe so barley flour is now the star. “Barley is the unsung hero in the whole grain world. It is one of the richest sources of both soluble and insoluble fibre. These dietary fibres provide your GI tract with friendly bacteria …Barley helps lower cholesterol and promotes healthy blood sugar levels.” She also reduced the saturated fat, and canola oil is now part of the recipe. And of course, there are plenty of spices, and diced candied ginger for oomph.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure how the cookie would taste with barley flour. But I was more intrigued than put off, by it. The recipe is quite easy. Just a couple of bowls, spoons and a handmixer. Oh and a knife to dice up the candied ginger. Before placing the cookie balls onto the parchment lined baking sheet, you’ll roll them in turbinado or raw sugar. You know the sugar: the golden large grains that don’t really melt when baked. These give the cookies a fabulous crunchy exterior and some sweetness, without being overpowering.
The other ingredient that I love in her recipe is the candied ginger. You know those lovely slices of ginger that have been cooked down in syrup and then dried and covered in sugar! I will often grab a piece of candied ginger if my tummy is upset- the ginger has a calming effect. There is something quite addictive to really good, fresh candied ginger- I probably spent just as much time nibbling on the ginger as I did dicing it up for the cookie batter. The candied ginger adds such a lovely texture to the final cookie, as well as a different layer of ginger, compared to just using ground ginger.
As soon as I removed the baking sheet out of the oven (they baked up in 15 minutes, and looked amazing even through the oven door!) the aroma that filled the kitchen was so wonderful. All those spices and the tangy ginger surrounded me, giving me an aroma hug. Now I would have to wait to let them cool down enough before I could eat one. I may have rushed it just a tad. But it was so worth it. Oh my!! Everything I wanted this cookie to taste like, and more. The texture was superb. I brought one over to Jim. I turned my back for but a moment, and the first thing I heard from his direction was, “Can I have some more please?”
So Mairlyn, you have two brand new cheerleaders for this fabulous cookie. I will never bake a different ginger (snap or otherwise) again. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Jim definitely doesn’t think I need to keep looking.
You guys will love this cookie, I promise. And the hunt for barley flour is worth it, although these days, most good grocery stores or health food stores should carry it. How often does a beloved cookie get to be part of a High Fibre cookbook, and still taste amazing?! I’m sure I will share other recipes from the book eventually. But don’t wait for me. Run out and get your own copy. If only for the comprehensive intro and lifestyle tips that Mairlyn shares, you will definitely be enriched by them.
Mairlyn's Spicy Ginger Molasses Cookies
Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, these Ginger Cookies have enough Spice to make them sassy, and molasses to give them depth. They get better as the days go by. This will become your go-to Ginger Molasses Cookie!
- 2 3/4 cups whole grain barley flour
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup canola or grapeseed oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup diced candied ginger
- 1/4 cup turbinado or raw sugar for dusting
Place a rack in the middle of the oven and pre-heat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and baking soda. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using a hand held mixer, cream the butter. Add the canola oil and granulate sugar and beat until the batter turns light and fluffy.
Add the egg and beat well. Add 1 tbsp of water and the molasses and beat in.
Add the flour mixture and mix in on low speed. Add the candied ginger and stir to mix well.
Pat the dough down so that it is level in the bowl.
Use the back of your hand to lightly score the dough in half. Then score again cross wise.
You now have four sections.
Create 10 balls from each section by using a spoon to grab sections and roll in your hands to make 1 inch balls.
Spread out the turbinado sugar in a wide shallow bowl. Drop the cookie balls into the sugar and turn to coat.
Place each cookie ball onto the lined baking sheets.
You should get about 9-10 cookies on one sheet. Leave a good 1 1/2-2 inches between cookie.
Press down lightly on each cookie to flatten slightly.
Bake in the oven until the tops are cracked and golden brown, 15-18 minutes. *If you are using two smaller baking sheets and filling the entire oven rack, turn the racks around and switch sides, for even baking.
Rest the cookies on the baking sheet for 3 minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Repeat with remaining dough.
Store in an air tight container for up to a week, or freeze for up to 3 months.
This recipe can easily be baked up as a half-batch.
If you find that the dough is too soft to roll, chill the bowl in the fridge for a good 30 minutes. You may find that the outer parts of the dough chill quicker and can be baked up. Just return the half empty bowl back to the fridge between batches.