Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sharon's Ginger and Spice and Everything Nice...

When Love K asked me to write a piece for her blog she suggested a recipe. She knows me well!! For me, baking has always been the start of my Christmas festivities. Call me crazy but there is something about the sound of those beaters, getting flour in my hair and on my clothes and the wonderful fragrance of winter spices permeating the air.
Today I will concentrate on one of my favourite spices- ginger. Years ago I came across a tasty cookie recipe from Canadian Living and it has become one of the first cookies I make each year. I hope you will give it a try - it is quite interesting because it uses ground ginger but also crystallized ginger. I find it is a nice accompaniment to a flavored coffee or a warm cup of apple cider. Enjoy!
Double Ginger Drop Cookies
(makes approx. 60)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/4 cup fancy molasses
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp each of salt and baking soda
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger (I usually omit)
1 tbsp milk (approx.)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease, set aside.
In large bowl, beat butter and brown and granulated sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg, crystallized ginger, molasses and vanilla. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, ground ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to butter mixture and stir until smooth.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls, about 2 inches apart, onto prepared pan. Bake in oven until golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool.
Icing: In small bowl, whisk icing sugar with ginger (if using). Add milk and whisk until smooth, adding up to 1 tsp more milk if too thick to drizzle. Drizzle over each cookie. Let stand until icing is firm, about 30 min.(This recipe freezes well)

Ginger 101
Ginger is a plant native to India and China, the roots of which are used for many culinary and medicinal purposes. The importance of ginger can be dated back to the writings of Confucius. In 9th century Europe, powered ginger was placed on the table alongside salt and pepper. This plant has a long history and many famous recipes to its name.
My second ginger inspired treat is a Gingerbread house. This year I decided to try something different so I went to a gingerbread house decorating night. My favorite tea place in Mississauga was offering such a night and it turned out to be a fun filled event. It was a wonderful way to meet some local people, be creative and to leave the stress of the day behind you. All participants were given an assembled house with an assortment of candies and treats and royal icing. We had the fun part of decorating the house to our heart's content. I must say that everyone had their own unique decorating styles and I found the children to be so creative. Many families have made this a tradition and return with their children every year. I would encourage anyone to give this a try - perhaps you could even host an event in your home. However, going to the tea room with a cup of tea and a warm scone by my side was pure Christmas delight.

My finished product ........................... Snowy Cottage
Happy Baking and May your Christmas be filled with all the right measurements..........
a cup of friendship
a cup of merriment
a cup of peace
a cup of prosperity
but more importantly, may your
cup of love be overflowing!!!!

Sharon is both a kindred spirit and a gentle soul...Not only is she one of the greatest bakers EVER (no exaggeration) she is also the sweetest most caring person I have ever had the pleasure to meet (and I should know seeing as I have known her for a long long time)...she is creative, imaginative, kind and know her is to love her...thanks so much for sharing these recipes S, they are very much appreciate!
PS: Sharon is HUGE fan of Audrey Hepburn, hence the mini-bio photo :-)

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