I like Thanksgiving and all the traditions that go with it. The one exception might be that pumpkin pie really isn’t my favourite dessert. Once a year isn’t really enough frequency to complain about this seriously but it always just seems to be the same. I challenged tradition this year by making these Apple-Ginger cookies. (We also had some excellent pumpkin pie that our neighbours brought.)
The base recipe I used is from grouprecipes.com and can be viewed by clicking here. As my first modification I axed the nuts. Almost always with cookies (and especially with brownies) I feel that nuts are an unwelcome distraction both from a taste and textural standpoint. I didn’t have any raisins on hand so they went too but weren’t really missed–might include them next time.
The recipe calls for finely dicing the apples and cooking them for ten minutes. Grating always seems easier with something like that so that’s the route I took and cooked the apples much longer on very low heat. This gave me an intensely-flavoured candied apple compote of sorts. I can see apple sauce or even better apple butter working just as well.
The recipe makes three dozen cookies but I wanted to be able to bake the whole load in a single two-tray batch so I re-portioned to sixteen larger cookies. I also garnished each one with a small piece of candied ginger.
These seem like a lot of changes but I think the recipe is essentially the same so I’m not going to bother posting my adapted version at this point.
Sure, it’s sort of an obsession but I can’t get enough of cooking things in our home-built wood oven so these cookies were no exception. I’ve written about making good use of the oven’s leftover heat as it slowly cools overnight but there is also something to be said for making sure it is as full as possible while in active use. So, two cookie sheets, lined with silicon mats, went into the oven beside the roasting turkey and halved acorn squash. I used my oven thermometer to time the cookies entry into the oven for when its air termperature had coasted down to about 385°F.
Because the cookies were bigger than the original recipe’s they took closer to between sixteen and eighteen minutes to cook. I’ll have to do some more thinking on the physics involved but the brick oven produces cookies which are crisper on the bottom and softer on top than expected. I imagine this is a combination of the direct contact heat the pans get from the oven floor and the extra distance the tops are from the oven’s ceiling (twenty-one inches in the centre of the oven floor).
While a half cup of butter was split between the sixteen large cookies I made, with oatmeal, apple, and ginger as principal flavours this dessert veers dangerously close to “dour Scottish”. Luckily, a pint of The Sweet Escapes honey vanilla ice cream came to the rescue. We enjoyed its combination of real vanilla and the rounder, more natural sweetness from honey.