I’m a big-time fan of ginger: fresh, ground, crystallized, you name it and I’ll use it. So it stands to reason that I have a ginger cookie for every season, right? Right. Well, we all know that molasses pairs well with ginger and makes for irresistible, chewy cookies but for me, the flavor is too heavy and dense for summer. So, with my molasses jar happily hibernating in the pantry, I turn to ground ginger and my personal fave crystallized ginger to accent this lovely, refreshing summer cookie.
I’d love to tell you that there’s a sweet, endearing story behind this cookie. You know, like how I remember my grandmother making these for Sunday afternoon tea at her summer cottage in Connecticut. How she’d set out a plate of these guys along with big, cold pitcher of her minted iced tea on the linen covered table on her screened porch…okay, so maybe I can’t tell you that remembrance is entirely accurate (the cookies were chocolate chippers; drink was icy cold Coke; the screened porch? Mom’s) but I can tell you with confidence that these lemon curd-filled cookies are light, refreshing and go perfectly with my tea (hot or iced). The sugar-crunch exterior gives way to a tender crumb studded with zesty bits of ginger and each bite explodes with the creamy, sweet-tart lemon curd.. good stuff. Such good stuff, in fact, that you and your family will quickly build your own summer memories around this easy-to-make gem of a cookie.
*I’m test-driving a new style for listing ingredients – listing the ingredient first and then the amount. This way, you’ll know at first glance if you have all the ingredients you’ll need to make the cookie. I employed this same style in Desserts 4 Today and I’m wondering if it works for slightly longer ingredient lists. I’d appreciate any and all feedback. Until I’m certain which style works best for these longer listings (It’s fab for 4 ingredients/D4T), I’ll continue to bounce between my traditional one and this D4T one.
* I’ve included a new section that I call “Switch-Ins”. Like in Desserts 4 Today, this section offers flavor variations for the cookie as well as the filling. This way, if you aren’t as crazy for ginger and or lemon curd as I clearly am, you can substitute – “Switch – In” – other ingredients to flavor the cookie to suit your taste buds.
Tips 4 Success:
* Mixer? This cookie dough can be mixed together in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or Beater Blade (my personal fave) or you can use a hand-held mixer.
* Cutting crystallized ginger: Stack a few ginger discs or pieces on a cutting board. Lightly coat both sides the knife’s blade with neutral-flavored oil (veg or canola) or a quick spray of Pam and start chopping. Depending on how much you are chopping, you might need to re-apply the oil.
*Ziploc for curd: For easy storing and cookie filling, I stow my curd in a Ziploc bag. Once the curd is cooled, arrange a small, heavy-duty Ziploc in a coffee mug or glass so that one bottom corner is at the bottom and the tops are folded over the top of the mug/ glass forming a cuff. Scrap the curd into the bottom corner of the bag and lift the bag from the mug/glass and lay on the counter. Using your fingers, push the curd into the corner, press out all the air from the bag and zip it closed. The curd can be kept in the fridge or freezer. When you’re ready to fill the cookies, simply snip off a small bit (about 1/3-inch) of the corner where the curd is and pipe into the cookie ‘thumbprints’.
Ginger- Lemon Thumbprints
Yield: 22 cookies
Here’s what you’ll need:
Unsalted butter 8 tablespoons (4 ounces), softened
Confectioners’ sugar 2/3 cup (2 2/3 ounces)
Ground ginger 1 1/4 teaspoons
Table salt 1/4 teaspoon
Yolk from large egg 1
Crystallized ginger, finely chopped 3 tablespoons
Pure vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon
All-purpose flour 1 1/3 cup (6 ounces)
Granulated sugar 3 tablespoons
Lemon Curd 1/2 cup
(see recipe below or use store-bought)
Here’s how to make them:
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line one large or two medium cookie sheets with nonstick liners.
2. Put the butter, confectioners’ sugar, ground ginger and salt in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth and blended, about 1 minute. Add the yolk, chopped crystallized ginger and vanilla extract and beat until blended. Add the flour and beat on medium-low speed until just blended, about 1 minute.
3. Put the granulated sugar in a ramekin and set aside. Using a mini ice cream scoop (1 tablespoon size), scoop out the dough and roll dough mounds between your palms to form 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the reserved granulated sugar and arrange on the prepared cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Using a finger, press down into the middle of each mound to make a well that’s almost down to the bottom. Don’t worry if the edges are slightly cracked.
4. Bake until the tops look dry and the bottoms are light brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Let the cookies sit for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Fill and serve immediately or cover and stow at room temperature. Just before serving, use a small spoon to drop a scant 1/2 teaspoon or more of the lemon curd into the indentations of each cookie.
* In place of the ground ginger and crystallized ginger, switch in one or more of the following:
Nuts, toasted and finely chopped 1/4 cup
Pure vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon (additional)
Lemon zest, finely grated 2 tablespoons
* In place of the lemon curd, switch in the following:
Fruit preserves 1/2 cup
* Eliminate the ground ginger and crystallized ginger from the cookie recipe and, in place of the lemon curd, switch in one of the following:
Peanut butter 1/2 cup
Nutella 1/2 cup
Dulce de Leche 1/2 cup
Homemade Lemon Curd
Makes 2/3 cup.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (I use microplane for zesting)
Pinch of table salt
1 large egg*
1 yolk from large egg
To make the lemon curd:
1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, zest and salt. Whisk in the yolks until well blended. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat a spatula and hold a line drawn through it with a finger, 4 to 6 minutes. If you have an instant read thermometer, the temperature will be 160 F. Don’t let the mixture boil.
2. Strain the curd into a clean, small bowl, discard the zest and cover the surface directly with plastic wrap. Let cool at room temperature and refrigerate until chilled or up to 3 weeks or freeze up to 1 month.