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Season of Sharing– Orange-Ginger Chocolate Cookies

December 22, 2011

Giving is the highest expression of potency. –Erich Fromm

Christmas is around the corner.  And that means decorating, baking, exchanging gifts, and simply enjoying the holiday season.  There is something so special about the spirit of Christmas that makes me want to relish every moment of it.  Family, friends, and their laughter is what this season is all about.  We make new traditions and honor the old ones.  Visiting food markets and appreciating the bounty of the holiday season has become a tradition for me.  Enjoying the smells of holiday flavors and perfumed seasonal shrubs are something I look forward to every year.

  

  
Most of all, giving and sharing is an important aspect of the holiday season.  While the fortunate are able to enjoy holiday festivities, there are some that need our help to boost their spirits.  Sharing time, money, or food with them can bring holiday cheer in their lives.  And sites such as Kiva.org, DonorsChoose.org, or GlobalGiving.org enable us to see exactly where those additional funds will be going.  It’s also nice to be able to track the project as it grows, thanks to all the supporters.  After all, it’s all about sharing, and the holidays are just a yearly reminder to share more!

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.  – James M. Barrie

Speaking of sharing, I would like to share my orange-ginger chocolate cookie recipe with you.  I love the combination of orange and ginger.  The spicy warmth of ginger and citrus flavor of orange gives them that special holiday touch.  And adding chocolate to it is like icing on the cake.  These are very soft and fudgy cookies.  I have used my favorite Scharffen Berger cocoa which gives them a really rich texture.

  

Over the years, these cookies have become customary in my family during the holiday season.  I love sharing them with friends who can’t have enough of them.  The flavors get even better in a day or two.  Well, if they last for that long!  And that has always been a challenge in my family.  They disappear so fast that sometimes I get tempted to hide them just to see how the flavors develop.  Anyway, Christmas is always better with cookies.  So, let’s play some Christmas music and get baking!

Ginger:  A Warm Touch

Ginger is native to southeast Asia and is a star ingredient in their regional cuisine.  It is valued for its medicinal and culinary properties.  Fresh ginger is available either mature or young.  Mature ginger has a tough skin that requires peeling, whereas young ginger does not need to be peeled.  Ginger is also available in dried powdered form.  A few other choices are crystallized, pickled, and candied ginger.

  
I personally prefer fresh ginger because of its fresh flavor and health benefits.  Its uses are endless; just let your imagination guide you.  I could use ginger in almost everything–soups, stews, salads, desserts, or drinks.  It has a juicy warmth that gives the dish a warm spicy edge.  Medicinally, ginger and honey mixture is a fool-proof formula for sore throat.  And it is a staple in my house, when needed.

Recipe

1 ½  cups all-purpose flour
2  tablespoons cocoa powder
8  tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
zest of an orange
½ cup light brown sugar
½  cup honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips

Sift flour and cocoa and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, ginger, and orange zest until creamy.  Add sugar and beat until mixed.  Add honey and mix.

In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1½ teaspoon boiling water.  Beat half of the flour mixture in butter.  Mix in baking soda mixture.  Add remaining half of the flour mixture and beat.  Mix in chocolate chips.  Turn out the cookie dough on a plastic wrap.  Pat the dough to about 1 inch thickness.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

  

  

Line two baking sheets with parchment.  Cut the dough in 24 equal pieces.  Roll them into balls, and place them 2 inches apart on baking sheets.  Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Let cool for 4-5 minutes.  (Cookies will be soft when they come out the oven, therefore give them a few minutes before transferring to wire rack).  Transfer the cookies to wire rack and cool completely.

Enjoy and share the spirit of holiday season!

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