I am 100 percent certain that all of my years of developing, testing, and writing the hundreds of shortcut cookie recipes for my books led directly to my dreaming up what, for me, was the ultimate cookie: a quick and easy spice cookie with exotic flair in the forms of a sprinkle of cardamom, a splash of rosewater, and a few turns of freshly cracked pepper.
What sweet satisfaction it was to have my very favorite cookie chosen as the grand prize winner in the Food Network’s Ultimate Recipe Showdown in 2008, earning me a perfect score of 100 points, $25,000, and the ultimate cookie bragging rights.
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2¼ teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ cup chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon rosewater
¾ cup turbinado (raw) sugar, for rolling
Whisk the flour, ground ginger, baking soda, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, pepper, and salt in a medium bowl until blended. Mix in the crystallized ginger. Set aside momentarily.
In a large bowl beat the brown sugar, shortening, and butter with an electric mixer until fluffy (do not overbeat—it will add too much air). Add the egg, honey, and rosewater and beat until blended. Stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon, mixing until just until blended. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 2 cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon the turbinado sugar in thick layer onto a small plate. Using wet hands, form dough into 1¼-inch balls; roll in sugar to coat completely. Place balls on prepared sheets, spacing 2–3 inches apart.
Bake cookies until cracked on top but still soft to touch, 11–13 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Carefully transfer cookies to wire racks; cool completely.
Makes 24 cookies
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