My son is leaving town after a nice visit home and even though he has moved out, I still have a need to send him off with his favorite cookies. He says they are so hearty he eats them for breakfast. I like the way he is thinking; it helps me feel virtuous when I go for seconds.
One of the key ingredients in this recipe is ginger, a spice that imparts heat and sweet at the same time. Usually, I use ground ginger, but since I had fresh ginger root in the fridge, I decided to grate it and see how it affected the taste. The change was mind-boggling. Between the ginger and the sorghum, this is one flavorful cookie.
Yield: 3 dozen large cookies
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons salt
1 cup sugar
1½ teaspoons ground ginger or 1½ tablespoons freshly grated ginger
4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup sorghum (could substitute honey or molasses)
2 tablespoons water
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1½ cups Craisins or raisins
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (try sunflower seeds if allergic to nuts)
Topping mixture: you’ll need a small bowl of water, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt
Prepare oven and baking pans:
Preheat oven to 350º.
Line three baking pans with parchment paper, or grease pan lightly with canola oil.
Mise en Place (or getting your ingredients ready):
To melt butter: place the two sticks of butter in a two cup Pyrex liquid measure. Pyrex measures are made of tempered glass and won’t burst when exposed to extremes in temperature. Melt butter in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. If little flecks of butter remain after melting, that is okay; better to let them melt on their own than risk overheating the butter and causing it to separate into fat, water, and milk solids.
To prepare chopped nuts*: I won’t dirty the food processor for just one cup of nuts, so here is what I do instead: place the measured amount of nuts in a baggie and use a meat mallet or a rolling pin to crush them into smaller pieces.
*To the kids who pounding nuts: NEVER pound directly onto a granite or soapstone surface! You could crack the countertop. Always pound on a wooden board placed on top of the countertop.
To grate fresh ginger: As a general rule of thumb, when substituting fresh spices for dried, triple the amount dried spice called for in the recipe. This recipe called for 1½ teaspoons of ground ginger, so I grated 1½ tablespoons instead. Know that 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon. Also, I just learned from my friend, Lou Ann, that you can store unpeeled ginger root in a baggie in the freezer. A great tip!
First, peel the ginger root and then grate. I used a fine-holed Microplane to grate the ginger.
The ground ginger will be very moist.
To prepare eggs for recipes: Always break eggs in a separate bowl before adding to the batter. You need to be able to inspect for broken shells or avoid adding a bad, foul-smelling egg. Another reason is the heat from melted butter could start to prematurely cook the eggs.
In general, I espouse the orderliness of getting your ingredients measured and out on the countertop ready to begin mixing in a calm fashion, a concept I have described in previous posts that is known as “mise en place.” Sometimes, it creates a lot of dishes to wash so for this recipe, I measured similar “add-in” ingredients together in the same measuring cup, to cut down on clean-up. Thus, the liquids were measured together, as were the nuts and fruit.
Finally, Making the Cookies:
Into your large mixing bowl add the dry ingredients: the flours, baking soda, salt, sugar, ginger, and oats. For a refresher course on measuring dry ingredients properly, check out Home Ec 101. As an FYI, I spooned the flour into the measuring cup and then leveled it off with a knife. This is important; if you scoop the measuring cup directly into the flour sack four times for the required four cups of flour, you could add as much as one full cup more flour than was intended for the recipe. Mix on slow speed for about 30 seconds.
Add the liquids: sorghum, melted butter, water, and eggs, and mix on low-medium speed for about one minute.
Turn the machine off and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix slowly on low speed for another 15 seconds. You do not want to over mix the flour.
Add the Craisins and nuts and mix on slow speed for about 30 seconds.
Using a tablespoon or cookie batter scooper, add golf ball-sized lumps of dough to your prepared cookie sheets.
Place 12 balls of dough on each sheet. You could make these cookies smaller and get more cookies, but when I tried that they were too crunchy and lost their soft, chewy texture, which is what makes them so special.
Press the balls flat with a fork in two different directions to create a criss-cross pattern.
Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of each cookie very lightly with water, then sprinkle lightly with sugar, followed by a touch of salt, if desired.
I use a sea salt grinder and lightly grind the salt in a sweeping fashion over the rows of cookies, so there is not too much salt falling on any one cookie.
Initially, bake cookies for 8 minutes. I always set a timer. Open the oven and rotate the cookie sheets on the oven racks. Cook for about 7 more minutes, or until lightly browned. Cooking time may vary. You don’t want these cookies to be hard, so take them out when they are just lightly browned and let them cool on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes. Best to err on the side of “I think they’re ready,” than “Ugh, too hard.” Remove from cookie sheets with a spatula and let cookies finish cooling on a wire rack.
Here are a few others recipes that use sorghum:
Sorghum, Oats, and Cranberry Granola
The Biscuit King
Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Cranberries
Raising Sorghum Cane
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