It's easy to gain inspiration from all the weighty cookbooks I own, not to mention the bevy of food magazines, blogs, websites, and TV shows that are out there. What is even more satisfying is getting that inspiration from a good friend. Last year I cajoled my pal Scott into guestblogging a cookie recipe of his that I love: Cream of Tartar Cookies. A couple of months ago he gussied them up with some orange frosting and crunchy, colorful pistachios, thus transforming them into Pistachio-Orange Cookies which recently won the Minneapolis Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest. So proud! Out of 268 entries his won which was not surprising as I have often been on the receiving end of his exemplary cooking skills.
I loved the idea of orange + pistachios together so I made these cookies incorporating zingy Australian candied ginger, candied mixed peel (lemon and orange), and some chopped pistachios. The result is a crunchy exterior with a rich, chewy interior. Each bite yields varying flavors of spice, citrus and toasted nuts - such a great combination of holiday flavors.
A note about the candied ginger: the ginger I used here isn't the thin slices of crystallized ginger I was familiar with in the U.S. Instead, these are cubes of ginger with no exterior sugar visible, quite similar to dried fruit. I'm sure the crystallized ginger would work just fine.
For about 3 dozen cookies:
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup raw (or white) superfine (caster) sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/3 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup finely chopped toasted pistachios
- 1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger
- 1/4 cup chopped candied citrus peel
- 1/3 cup coarse sugar
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined. Add the pistachios, candied ginger and citrus peel and mix again.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and then roll in the sugar. Place on the baking sheet, spacing the dough 3 inches apart. Bake in the center of the oven for 12-14 minutes until the tops crack and are slightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container for a week or freeze for up to a month.