Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ginger Cookies, from One Grandma to Another

It still weirds me out when I realize that my old elementary school friends are “all grown up” – or at least as grown up as I am. In the back of my mind, they all stopped aging around 12 years old, when we graduated to high school, or whatever age they were when I left the hallowed walls. Sadly, or gladly depending on how you look at it, time didn’t stand still for us. We aged, became adults, and moved on with our lives – some of us coming together once in a while for school reunions every so often, but mostly getting lost in the wind. Even Facebook had minimal impact on keeping connections with each other, although most of us had each other as contacts. I’m hardly ever on there myself – mostly, my account is an extra “Favourites Folder” for nifty links I find (the other part of the reason I’m still with them is because it’s a social outlet for my nutritional consulting business). When I do actually pop on there (to answer messages or replies on my Wall), I’m often flabbergasted at what they’re up to.

For instance, at least two of my old pals from “back in the day” are married with children – which isn’t overly shocking to the general populous, considering we’re all now in our mid-20s – but seeing “kids” you grew up with having kids themselves is still off-putting. One of the girls I used to know was the daughter of my often mentioned teacher Verity, who married an army soldier and has since delivered a beautiful baby girl. Last time I popped onto the good ol’ FB, I was greeted by another update from her – baby number 2! Of course, I had to pop by my old stomping grounds to catch up with Grandma, who resembles nothing like your stereotypical, cookie-baking, knitting Nana. Far from it, V is closer to a model than a matron, genes she obviously passed on to her descendants.

But any grandma, new or not, should have cookies. And with V, there is never a question as to what kind! Unless it’s December and the shortbread-fest is in full swing, ginger tops the list. I figured it would be the perfect “pick me up”, and at the same time use up a bunch of goodies I had waiting in the wings, especially the new crystallized “ginger chips” I bought on a whim while shopping. All I needed was a recipe “base”, which is where the “second” grandma factored in.

I had received a cookbook from my grandparents several years ago when they returned from an East Coast vacation, which quickly became one of my favourites. It’s the source of my killer buttermilk biscuits, which always turn out, and a good handful of the chicken dishes are classics (in a good way!). No fewer than 4 ginger cookie recipes are in there, along with a host of others that I’m still dying to try. Considering that the church ladies who penned these weren’t necessarily on the health and wellness bandwagon, it’s rare that I ever get to take it out anymore, but when I do it’s always for something scrumptious! I picked one, pretty much at random, that used what I had hanging around, and started modifying. Tofu replaced the eggs (familiar, no?) a blend of flours and sweeteners came in for the straight all-purpose and treacle, and to add a different dimension of ginger to the ground called for as a standard I threw in some fresh as well. The ginger chips and rich butterscotch candy drops rounded out the dough, adding a touch of sweetness to play along the spicy base. When I showed up with the bag of chewy cookies, it was like Christmas all over again, and not just because of the ginger!

Triple Ginger Butterscotch Jumbos
Adapted from "Recipes for Young and Old" by St. Peter's Catholic Women's League in Port Hood, N.S.
Makes 20 GIANT cookies
4 oz (½ cup) salted butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup fancy molasses
¼ cup dark corn syrup
¼ cup honey
2 tbsp fresh-grated ginger
200g low-fat silken tofu, pureed
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup Kamut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup diced crystallized ginger
¼ cup butterscotch chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone.
  2. Cream together butter and brown sugar, then beat in molasses, corn syrup, honey, fresh ginger and tofu.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, ground ginger and cinnamon.
  4. Stir flour mixture into the creamed mixture until thoroughly combined.
  5. Fold in crystallized ginger and butterscotch chips.
  6. Bake for 16 minutes. Cool completely on sheets.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 217.4
Total Fat: 5.9 g
Cholesterol: 12.2 mg
Sodium: 55.7 mg
Total Carbs: 40.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.8 g
Protein: 3.6 g