Last year, shortly before Purim, I spent an afternoon traipsing around Meah Shearim. I stopped in a little spice shop, loaded up on things like cumin and curry and dill and oregano, and noticed that they also sold crystallized ginger. I was intrigued, but I knew it wasn’t going to become a regular in my baking. So I asked the guy how long it would last.
“In the fridge? Until next Purim!”
It turns out that we were both right. I was right that I’d use it only every now and then, and he was right that it would last. Because look at the calendar! It’s a few weeks before Purim one year later, I just used the stuff in this batch of fragrant ginger spice sticks, and it’s as good as ever.
If you like gingerbread and the warmth that its flavors bring, you’ll love these. The all-purpose flour is tempered with an equal amount of whole wheat; the granulated sugar is brown sugar’s sidekick. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey help weave the basic elements together, but the real star is the ginger, which shows up as the dried spice and as bits of crystallized gems.
The lemon glaze, while it may not be totally necessary, is an aromatic way to finish these off, what with the fresh lemon juice and bits of zest. Plus, they’re much prettier this way.
The other great thing is that they stay soft for a full six days (and maybe even one or two more, but I can’t say from experience) in an airtight container. What that means is that you can include these in your mishloach manot without having to do any baking at the last minute.
And if that’s not a selling point for elegant-tasting cookie sticks, I don’t know what is.
Ginger spice sticks with lemon glaze
Adapted from Dvora’s Cookie Creations
Yield: About 28 pieces
- ½ cup butter (or margarine), room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup finely diced crystallized ginger
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp honey
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar, sifted
1. Cream together the butter and sugars until smooth. Add the egg, honey, and vanilla and beat until combined.
2. Add ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, flours, baking soda, and salt and beat just until combined. Fold in the crystallized ginger, then chill dough in the fridge (covered) for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 375 F/190 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Divide dough in half and roll each piece into a long, narrow log about a foot long. Place them side by side on the sheet, leaving a few inches of space in between, and press down to flatten slightly.
5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. While they cool, mix the glaze ingredients together. Using a piping bag, a sandwich bag with the corner snipped off, or my new favorite trick, a whisk, drizzle the glaze diagonally across the baked ginger loaves.
6. Set aside until the loaves have cooled completely and glaze sets. Slice into sticks and store in an airtight container for up to six days.