Oats, Sorghum, Ginger and Cranberry Cookies

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.

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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

Ingredients:   
sorghum oat cookies     
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons salt
½ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons ground ginger or 1½ tablespoons freshly grated ginger
4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sorghum (could substitute honey or molasses)
2 tablespoons water
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1½ cups raisins, Craisins, or dried cherries
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (try sunflower seeds if allergic to nuts)

Topping mixture: you’ll need a small bowl of water, and some 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):
sorghum oat cookies

To melt butter: place butter in a Pyrex liquid measuring cup. 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 and causing the butter to separate into fat, water, and milk solids.
Sorghum oatmeal cookies

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 to crush them into small pieces.
*NEVER pound directly onto a granite or a soapstone surface! You could crack the countertop. Always pound on a wooden board placed on top of the counter.
Sorghum oatmeal cookies

To grate fresh ginger: As a general rule of thumb, when substituting fresh spices for dried, triple the amount of 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, you can store unpeeled ginger root in a baggie in the freezer.

First, peel the ginger root and then grate. I used a fine-holed Microplane grater. The ground ginger will be very moist.
DSC_1016.jpg ginger cookies sorghum ginger cookies sorghum

To prepare eggs for recipes: Always break eggs in a separate bowl before adding to the batter.  You need to inspect them for broken shells or for a bad, foul-smelling egg.

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 how to properly measure dry ingredients, check out my post, Home Ec 101. As an FYI, I spooned the flour into the measuring cup and then leveled it off with a knife (or my finger!). If you scoop the measuring cup directly into the flour sack, it packs the flour into the cup. If you do that four times, for the required four cups of flour, you could add as much as one full cup of flour to the recipe.

Mix on slow speed for about 30 seconds.
Sorghum oatmeal cookies

Add the liquids: sorghum, melted butter, water, and eggs, and mix on low-medium speed for about one minute.
Sorghum oatmeal cookies

Turn the machine off and use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the Craisins and nuts and mix on slow speed for another 15 seconds. Over-mixing the flour could result in tough cookies.

Use a tablespoon or a cookie scoop to make golf ball-sized portions of dough.
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Place 12 balls of dough on each cookie sheet. You could make these cookies smaller and get more cookies, but when I tried this, the smaller cookies 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 directions to create a criss-cross pattern.
sorghum cookies sorghum cookies

Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of each cookie lightly with water followed by a  sprinkle of sugar and a touch of salt.
Sorghum oatmeal cookies

Bake cookies for 8 minutes and then rotate cookie sheets on oven racks. Set a timer! Cook for about 7 more minutes, or until lightly browned. Cooking time may vary. Best to err on the side of “I think they’re ready,” than “Ugh, too hard” when determining doneness. Place cookies on wire racks to cool. Cookies will harden as they cool.
sorghum cookies – Version 2

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 39
Amount per serving
Calories 186
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7.4g 10%
Saturated Fat 3.3g 16%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 223mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 28.2g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1.9g 7%
Total Sugars 16.3g
Protein 3.1g
Vitamin D 4mcg 21%
Calcium 22mg 2%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 145mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Recipe analyzed by

 

Here are a few other recipes that use sorghum:
Sorghum, Oats, and Cranberry Granola
The Biscuit King
Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Cranberries
Raising Sorghum Cane

Always check the website for the most current version of a recipe.

© 2014-2017 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos and text may only be used with written consent.

Italian Ricotta and Lemon Cookies

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love that the sweet equals the tart.
I love the cakey center and the crunchy crust.
You are irresistible and please the crowds.
You are Italian, so you are a cookie after my own heart.
You gladden the heart of my brother, Charles, too.
For that, I will continue to make you all the days of my life.

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Yield:  4 dozen

Ingredients:
ricotta lemon cookies
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs (a large egg equals 2 ounces, do not use xl eggs)
1 15-ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese, room temperature
1 lemon, zested
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice of one 4-5 oz lemon)

Glaze:
1½ cup powdered sugar
1 lemon, zested
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice of one 4-5 oz lemon)

Mise en Place:
There is a fancy cooking term called, mise en place (me-zahn-plahs)It means to “put into place” which in the kitchen means to measure all the ingredients ahead of time, so they are ready to go when you start cooking. I’m frequently in a rush and don’t bother to do this extra step, but today, I decided to give it a try. It was so calming! I plan to make this a regular cooking practice.
ricotta lemon cookies

Measure and combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl; set aside. Melt the butter; set aside. Measure sugar; set aside. Crack open the two eggs; set aside. Measure ricotta. Zest and juice the lemons.

How to Zest and Juice a Lemon for your Mise en Place:
As part of my mise en place strategy, I did all the prep work on my lemons first. I used the fine-holed Microplane grater to zest the two lemons.  Grating the brightly colored rind of the citrus fruit is a great way to add intense flavor to food. Be careful not to grate past the yellow rind as the white pith below the rind is bitter.
ricotta lemon cookies

Next, slice the lemons in half and squeeze the juices out using a lemon squeezer.
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Instructions:
1) Preheat oven to 375º

2) Line three cookie sheets with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper, lightly grease the baking sheets with canola oil.

3). In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed for two minutes. Beat for the full two minutes as this will incorporate air into the batter which will make for a lighter cookie.
ricotta lemon cookies

4) Add eggs and beat for 30 seconds.

ricotta lemon cookies

5) Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and ricotta and beat for one minute on medium speed. Be sure to use a spatula to incorporate the ingredients that have settled onto the bottom of the mixing bowl, into the batter.

ricotta lemon cookies

6) Add the flour, baking powder and salt mixture and stir (the lowest speed on a mixer) for a minute. Do not overmix or whip. We don’t want to awaken the gluten in the flour, so the batter becomes elasticky. We want the cookies to have a cake-like texture.

ricotta lemon cookies ricotta lemon cookies ricotta lemon cookies

7) Use a tablespoon to drop the cookie dough onto the pan. Use about one heaping tablespoon of dough for each cookie.

ricotta lemon cookies

8) Bake for 15-20 minutes. After 10 minutes of cooking, rotate your cookie sheets in the oven. Cookies are done when their bottom edges just start to darken.

ricotta lemon cookies

Leave cookies on the pan to cool for 10 minutes. Peel cookies off the parchment paper and place directly on a wire cooling rack so the bottoms can air dry and become crisp.

Mise en Place for Glaze:

1) Mix together powdered sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small bowl and stir.

ricotta lemon cookies
2) When cookies are cool, use a knife to spread a thin layer of glaze over each of them. Let glaze harden for at least three hours before stacking.

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P.S. I’ve heard from relatives that you can make these cookies with orange or lime juice and zest, too.

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Check out Christmas on the MENU (under Recipes) for more holiday recipes.

Always check the website for the most current version of a recipe.

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© 2014-2017 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos and text may only be used with written consent.