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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Spice up your Holidays!


The old adage says "variety is the spice of life" I say "spice adds variety to your life" and not only does it do that, but, it can help you feel more vibrant, just by adding simple herbs. I know, for me personally, I only have to smell ginger to know it's Christmas, ginger just has a warm pepperiness that makes you feel the warmth of the holidays. So, today, I want to share a great recipe for really chewy ginger cookies, but, of course I can't do that without giving you a tip on the many benefits of Ginger. Ginger has long been used to relieve nausea, including dizzyness from Motion Sickness, it Stimulates Digestion, Helps Lower Cholesterol, Relieves Gas & Bloating, Soothes Common Cold Symptoms, Including Respiratory Infections, Eases Menstrual Cramps, Relieves Headaches, Helps stop diarrhea, it is also believed to have anti-cancer properties, another great perk is it naturally freshens the breath. The one most important to me during the holidays, when you're often times feeling exhausted, is energizing yourself. I'm sure you've heard the old adage "ginger up" or "perk up", well the ginger spice will help you do just that. The compound "gingerol" which gives the spice it's zesty taste, improves your body's uptake of oxygen by up to 21 percent, according to Food Australia's 1992 review. The increased oxygen flow then helps to boosts brain-cell activity, invigorating the mind and body. So, if you're ready to "Ginger Up" follow this delicious recipe below for great Soft & Chewy Ginger Cookies for the Holidays.

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Makes 4 ½ dozen small cookies

Ingredients

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup unsulphured molasses

1 large egg, beaten

Method

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Peel and grate fresh ginger; set aside. Finely chop crystallized ginger; set aside.
3.In a large bowl, whisk together the ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, flour, baking soda and salt. Add crystallized ginger, separate if it clumps and stir to incorporate. Set aside.
4.In a medium-size skillet or small pot, over low heat, add butter – when it has melted almost half way. Turn off the heat and add the fresh ginger, brown sugar, molasses. Mixture should be warm to touch not hot. Add beaten egg and stir to incorporate. Pour over flour mixture. Stir until combined – do not overwork the dough.
5.Shape dough into balls (1/2 tablespoon dough for small cookies – 1 1/2 inch; 1 heaping tablespoon dough for 3 inch). Balls should be placed at least 2 inches apart for smaller cookies/ 3 inches for larger.

6.Coat each ball with large granule sugar.

7.Bake for 8 to 9 minutes for small cookies; 10 – 12 for larger. Cookies are done when they have risen and cookies crack. Do not overbake – underbaking is better. Store in airtight container for about 1 week.