A cookie is worth a thousand words. I know this because when students look at me like I'm crazy for encouraging them to cook with wild edibles, I give them one of these cookies and that changes everything. The look on peoples' faces is wonderful to watch as they bite, chew, smile, and ask, "You made this with WHAT?"
The wild ginger snap is a superior cookie: crisp, spicy, and the perfect accent for a dish of sorbet or a hot cup of tea. And while you're at it, why not tuck a few into your lunch bag? They're small enough that you can allow yourself three or four without too much guilt.
Wild ginger is native to North America and while the taste is similar to that of store-bought, tropical ginger, I find it much more appealing. It's slightly darker and more complex, spicy without being hot.
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 5/8 cups sugar
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla
- 1 egg
- 1/6 cup molasses
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 3 tsp. ground spice bush berries
- 2 1/2 tsp. ground, dried wild ginger stolons
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 minutes
- Total Time: 28 minutes
- Yield: 100+ small cookies
Cream the butter and sugar, then add the vanilla and egg and beat until fluffy.
Add the molasses and blend well.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ground spice bush berries, and dried, ground, ginger stolons.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until just combined.
Take the dough out of the bowl and roll it on a floured cutting board to form a long, snake-like cylinder, approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and freeze overnight.
Preheat oven to 350F and cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit your cookie sheet.
Unwrap the dough and slice as thinly as possible, about 1/8 inch. Place the cookies on the parchment-lined cookie sheet, allowing room for expansion, and bake for 8 minutes. The cookies will be slightly pliable when they come out of the oven, but will quickly become crisp as they cool. Allow them to cool for five - ten minutes, then transfer the cookies to a plate and refill the cookie sheet for the next batch.
The dough keeps well in the freezer for up to a month, so it's a great make-ahead treat. I often bake half a batch and store the rest of the cookie dough for the next special occasion. Or the next person who needs to be convinced that foraging is a worthy and delicious past time.
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