Ginger is one of the building blocks of Chinese cuisine and it is well known (and increasingly backed up by science) that ginger has many health-bearing properties; Confucius said “do not take away the ginger” because ginger can reduce internal heat and fever. With all that, here’s another, less traditional, recipe that would be perfect for Chinese New Year, my Crystallised Stem Ginger Cookies.
You can check out the recipe for my Sweet Beancurd Soup (腐竹糖水) by clicking on the name. It’s a much more authentic Chinese recipe. However in saying that, these cookies have a very similar appearance to Chinese Walnut Cookies called 核桃酥 (Hup Toh Soh) so I guess there’s a Chinese influence somewhere.
I added some of Beech’s Chocolates’ Crystallised Stem Ginger to the cookies for a chewy burst of sweet gingery heat. Their stem ginger is “large chunks of the highest quality Chinese stem ginger dusted in fine cane sugar” and is a new product on their website and I was lucky enough to pick some up back in November at a food show. It retails at £6.99 and you can find it online by clicking here.
One of my favourite things about this product is the packaging. I love the oriental feeling the packaging has which comes from the red dragons on the box. It plays on the fact that it is Chinese stem ginger and it makes this product stand out for me.
Sometimes crystallised ginger can be quite tough and hard to eat but Beech’s Stem Ginger has the fantastic crunchy sweet sugary coating which is easy to bite into and then you have soft, sticky and chewy Chinese ginger which is spicy, warming on the tongue and throat and full of ginger flavour. It’s something that I could enjoy on its own as well as using it in my baking.
This recipe is adapted from Eric Lanlard’s Afternoon Tea. I changed the spices to what I had in the cupboard as well as adapting the recipe quantities, adding in the stem ginger pieces and baking them for a bit longer so the edges are nice and crisp.
135g granulated sugar
185g self-raising flour
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
6 pieces of crystallised stem ginger, chopped into small cubes, saving 16 cubes for the tops of the cookies
Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
In a bowl, cream together the margarine with the granulated sugar until it is pale and fluffy. Add in the egg and beat well until the egg is incorporated.
Sift and then fold in all the dry ingredients to form a soft but not sticky dough. Before it all comes together to a dough, add in your chopped crystallised stem ginger. Leave the dough to sit for 5 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 170˚C. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.
I found it easy to portion out the cookies using a half filled ice cream scoop. Roll the dough into a ball between the palms of your hands and place onto the baking trays, leaving a 2 inch gap between each cookie. Top each cookie with a cube of the stem ginger and then sprinkle Demerara sugar over each cookie, tipping away the excess.
Bake the cookies for around 13 – 16 minutes until the edges are a golden colour, the cookies are browned nicely, they have a cracked appearance and they have spread. Leave the cookies to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before leaving to cool on the parchment. The cookies should lift off very easily.
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