In the small town of Courtenay on Vancouver Island there is a very, very good farmers' market.
There's something about the town that seems to draw old and young hippies who are gifted bakers and farmers and coffee-bean roasters.
Even Scott – who could definitely use an attitude adjustment when it comes to hanging out at farmers' markets – trails along happily behind me and my dad at the Courtenay farmers' market.
We always end up at the gluten-free baking booth, where we buy a loaf of maple oat bread for Scott and chocolate ginger cookies for all of us. We usually save the cookies for whatever adventure we get up to that afternoon: canoeing around Jim Mitchell Lake or walking the beach at Royston or forging trails in the bush on my dad's land.
And the cookies are always just right: rich and chocolatey, with a good kick of ginger and molasses to perk you up. In short, they do exactly what a cookie is supposed to do mid-afternoon.
This fall, my dad told me that the mother-daughter team behind the booth, Sweet Surprise, was publishing a cookbook. Now, we haven't been able to go to the Courtenay farmers' market since we moved to Edmonton in September – the commute is just too long.
So what do you think I thought about first?
That's right. These chocolate ginger cookies.
Luckily, my dad gave me the cook book for Christmas and it had the recipe. (Thank you, Heidi and Alex, for including it!)
People, I am here to tell you: these chocolate ginger cookies are even better than we remembered. I make them a bit smaller and possibly bake them for a bit less time . . . and they are chewy and bright with ginger and the chocolate is melting on our fingers and I always think I haven't made nearly enough.
Now we are set: I will keep making these chocolate ginger cookies and they will tide us over until we can get back to Courtenay (fingers crossed!) in the summer.
one year ago: gumdrop cake
two years ago: whisky marmalade (Does anyone in Edmonton know where I can find Seville oranges?)
three years ago: ugly vegetables make beautiful soup: creamy celeriac soup
chocolate ginger cookies*
slightly adapted from sweet surprise and martha stewart
bakes about 34 cookies
80 g. (1/2 c. + 2 tbsp.) brown or white rice flour
42 g. (1/4 c. + 1 tbsp.) sweet sorghum flour
54 g. (1/4 c. + 1 tbsp.) potato starch
40 g. (1/4 c. + 1 tbsp.) tapioca starch
3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
90 g. (1/2 c.) room-temperature butter or coconut oil
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 c. brown sugar
175 g. (1/2 c. + 1 tbsp.) molasses
200 g. dark chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp. white sugar or coarse blonde sugar for rolling
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl so that they mix well. Set aside.
With your mixer, beat the butter, ginger, brown sugar and molasses until it's very creamy. Then slowly mix in the dry ingredients. Add the chopped chocolate and mix. Try not to worry about how wet the dough is at this point.
Take out two rectangles of plastic wrap. Divide the craggy dough in half and put each half on one of the rectangles. Use the plastic wrap to form a log on each rectangle. It should be about 5 cm (almost 2 inches) in diameter (roughly). Chill for at least one hour or overnight in the fridge.
When the dough has chilled, prepare 3 baking trays with parchment paper. Put the white sugar into a small bowl. Slice the dough into even pieces – about 16 to 18 per log. Roll each slice into a ball and flatten it slightly. Roll that in the sugar. Place the dough balls on the tray about 6 cm (2 inches) apart. Let the dough balls chill in the fridge for a further 10 minutes.
While the dough balls are chilling, move the rack in your oven so that it's in the upper half. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.** Bake for about 10 minutes. The top will have a crinkle appearance and the cookies will look somewhat set, but will still be very fragile – this is key for a chewy cookie.
Let the cookies rest on their tray for about 10 minutes, until they are coherent enough to transfer to a rack to finish cooling (they will be much stronger at this point). Let cool.
Note: Sweet Surprise says the unbaked dough keeps in the fridge for about a week, if you like to do that. I always need to bake them right away because it never seems like there's enough . . .
* I have only tested these cookies with gluten-free flours since that's how Sweet Surprise wrote the recipe. The Martha Stewart version with regular wheat flour is very similar – try it if you don't need to go gluten-free.
** My mom tried this recipe and found the cookies baked better (and chewier) at 325 degrees Fahrenheit in her oven. If you think your oven runs hot, try that.