A New Fave: My Ginger Cookie

medrich ginger cookie
I could probably attach the title “new fave” to almost every cookie in Alice Medrich’s Chewy, Gooey, Crispy and Crunchy book, because everything I have tried is simply fantastic. But this ginger cookie is terrific, and has a different place in my reportoire than the Best Recipe’s, though I love that one too (see Molasses Spice Cookies). After a conversation I had tonight with my friend Rachel, I realized I had never posted this recipe, and it was high time! especially since winter is feeling close to over here in the Rocky Mountains and these cookies just epitomize an afternoon with a cold chill in the air. These are also a favorite (surprisingly to me!) of, I think, two of my kids, Henry and Peter. Incidentally, this recipe works fantastically at high altitudes, too.

My Ginger Cookies

  • 2 c. (9 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 2 t. ground ginger
  • 1 ½ t. ground cinnamon
  • ½ t. ground allspice
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
  • ¼ c. unsulfured mild or full-flavored molasses (not Blackstrap)
  • ½ c. (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. (2.33 ounces) packed brown sugar or light muscovado sugar
  • 2 T. finely minced fresh ginger (I omit this; it’s too much for my little ones!)
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ c. (4 ounces) ginger chips or crystallized ginger, cut into ¼ -inch dice
  • About ½ c. (3.5 ounces) Demerara or turbinado sugar or ¼ c. (1.75 ounces) granulated sugar for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

Combine the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk.

Combine the warm butter, molasses, sugars, fresh ginger, and egg in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the flour mixture and ginger chips and stir until incorporated. The dough will be soft.

Form the dough into 1-inch balls (0.5 ounce dough for each). Roll the balls in the Demerara sugar and place them 2 inches apart on the lined or ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies puff up and crack on the surface and then begin to deflate in the oven. Rotate the sheets from top to bottom and from back to front halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. For chewier cookies, remove them from the oven when at least half or more of the cookies have begun to deflate; for crunchier edges with chewy centers, bake for a minute or so longer.

Beef & Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

Beef and Broccoli
I always come to my blog thinking I have already posted this recipe, only to find that I never have, and that surprises me. So, tonight’s the night. This recipe is one of my favorite dinners. It’s the first one that comes to mind when I have broccoli on hand, and my husband and I always surprise ourselves by how much broccoli we can eat when we make it! I also have tried cheaper cuts of beef, but getting the flank steak makes all the difference–it just works perfectly. This makes one of the most perfect weeknight dinners we know. The recipe comes from The Best International Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.

Beef & Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

1 T. rice cooking wine or dry sherry
2 T. low-sodium chicken broth
5 T. oyster sauce
2 T. light brown sugar
1 t. toasted sesame oil
1 t. cornstarch

2 t. soy sauce
2 t. Chinese rice cooking wine or dry sherry
1 1/2 lbs. flank steak, cut into 2-inch-wide strips with the grain, then sliced across the grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices
6 medium cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press or minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced (about 1 T.)
1 t. peanut oil or vegetable oil, plus extra for cooking
1 1/4 lbs. broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into matchsticks
1/3 c. water
3 medium scallions, sliced 1/2-inch thick on diagonal, optional

In a liquid measure or small bowl, combine rice wine vinegar, chicken broth, oyster sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch for the sauce. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine beef, soy sauce, and the 2 t. rice wine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour.

In another small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon peanut oil. Set aside.

Heat 1-2 teaspoons peanut oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot and rippling. Add half of beef to skillet and break up clumps; cook, without stirring, for 1 minute, then stir and cook until beef is browned around edges and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. Don’t overcook the meat – cook until just barely cooked through so the meat stays tender. Transfer beef to a medium bowl and cover with a lid and tin foil. Heat another 1-2 teaspoons peanut oil in the skillet and repeat with remaining beef.

Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to now-empty skillet; heat until rippling and hot. Add broccoli and cook 30 seconds; add water, cover pan, and lower heat to medium. Steam broccoli until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove the lid, add the bell pepper and continue to cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.

Push the broccoli to the sides of the skillet and add the garlic/ginger mixture. Cook, mashing the mixture with a spoon, until fragrant, about 15-30 seconds. Stir the mixture into the vegetables. Add the beef back to skillet and toss to combine. Whisk the sauce to recombine and add to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with scallions, and serve.

Sichuan Green Beans

Sichuan Green BeansThis recipe is part of my arsenal of great, fast recipes that I really like. I frequently get a Bountiful Basket, and when there’s green beans in it, this is most likely the recipe I turn to. I also love that it’s a one-dish meal. I usually just make some rice and serve some cut fruit with it for dinner. It comes from The Best International Recipe (America’s Test Kitchen).

Sichuan Green Beans

2 T. soy sauce
2 T. water
1 T. dry sherry or rice cooking wine
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. corn starch
1/4 t. ground white pepper
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1/4 t. dry mustard
2 T. vegetable oil
1 lb. green beans, stem ends snapped off and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 lb. ground pork (I usually double this, because this is what my kids will eat)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. minced fresh ginger
3 scallions, sliced thinly
1 t. toasted sesame oil

Stir together all the ingredients from the soy sauce to dry mustard.  Set aside.

In a wok or large skillet, heat oil over high heat until just smoking.  Add the green beans and stir-fry for a few minutes until you they are crisp-tender, and are shriveled and blackened in some spots, about 5-8 minutes (reduce the heat if the beans darken too quickly).  Transfer the beans to a large plate.

Reduce your heat to medium-high and add ground meat to the pan, breaking the meat into pieces until no pink remains. about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Whisk the sauce to recombine, then add the sauce to the skillet and cook, tossing constantly, until the sauce has thickened, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from heat, and stir in the scallions and sesame oil, then spoon over the beans and serve with rice.