A recipe from the Stories on Stage elves
These Brown Sugar Ginger cookies disappear fast at Stories on Stage Sacramento events, and this is my favorite cookie recipe – crunchy, sugary bits of heaven with the unexpected bite of candied ginger, which I love and would put into everything if I could!
If you don’t like ginger, leave it out – these cookies are still delicious. They are excellent dunkers with milk or coffee. So bake a batch and enjoy them with Shelley, Dorothy, and our featured writer Tod Goldberg, as David Campfield reads “Walls” from Tod’s short story collection Other Resort Cities.
(recipe adapted from my daughter, who got it originally from Cook’s Illustrated)
- You can use salted butter, just decrease the added salt a little.
- Watch your browning butter carefully – once it starts to brown, things move fast and you don’t want to burn it.
- Use only dark brown sugar for this recipe. Light brown sugar results in a pretty good cookie but not a great one. Which is what you want, right?
- I buy candied ginger in bulk from the Sacramento Natural Food Co-op. You can also find it pre-packaged as candied ginger bits. Trader Joe’s sells it and other stores probably do too.
- Bake the cookies on parchment paper. If you don’t own any, buy some. Don’t substitute waxed paper! You can use silicone mats but I think the cookies come out better using parchment paper.
- Don’t make these cookies bigger than the suggested size. You’ll have to bake them too long.
- Rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking is important. Not quite sure why, but when I do this I tend to get a better crackle on the cookies.
- Heat 10 tablespoons of the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Continue to cook, swirling the pan constantly, until butter is dark golden brown. Takes up to 5 minutes, don’t go by time here but by the color of the butter. Remove skillet from heat and transfer brown butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter into the hot butter to melt, set this aside for 15 minutes.
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a shallow dish or pie plate, mix the granulated sugar and ¼ cup of the brown sugar until well combined and there are no large lumps of brown sugar; set aside. Stir flour, baking soda and baking powder together in a medium bowl; set aside.
- Add remaining 1¾ cups of brown sugar and salt to bowl with cooled butter: mix until no sugar lumps remain. Batter will not be smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula, beat egg, yolk, and vanilla together in a small bowl and add this to the butter/sugar mixture. Stir until smooth then add flour mixture and stir until just combined, then add the ginger. This batter will be stiff: combine everything with a spoon, making sure that there are no pockets of flour.
- Scoop out portions of the dough with a spoon (I use a kitchen teaspoon) and roll into balls about 2“ in diameter. Toss these into the sugar mixture and roll to coat, then place them about 2 inches apart on the parchment paper covered baking sheets.
- Bake until the cookies are browned and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers still look soft, 12 – 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Ideally, you’ll get cracks on the tops, but this doesn’t always happen. Why? I’m sure there’s a reason having to do with chemistry and oven heat but I always assume it’s the work of the cookie gods. Either way, these cookies taste great!
- Cool the cookies on the baking sheet 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack with spatula.
(keep a box of tissues handy - it's that kind of performance, and that kind of story)
Stories on Stage Sacramento
Sacramento's award-winning literary performance series. The work of today's best authors performed with theatrical flair! Plus generative writing workshops with our visiting authors.
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