Ginger Cookies & Ginger Pear Cheesecake

Today’s delicious dish – Ginger Cookies  

cookes-served

Homemade cookies are the best.  I think they are worth the work every time, and I believe my family agrees – especially when they are not the ones doing the work!  Some ginger cookies are quite crispy (gingersnaps), but these cookies are nicely soft and very gingery.  Be sure to use parchment paper to line your baking sheet – it will make handling the soft cookies much easier.  If you don’t have parchment paper, be sure to grease the cookie sheet thoroughly.  Did you know that you can reuse your sheet of parchment paper for successive batches of cookies?

This recipe calls for equal amounts of butter and coconut oil (which is really a mushy solid at room temperature).  If you don’t want to use coconut oil, you can substitute more butter for it.  This recipe also calls for minced ginger.  You can buy a hunk of ginger root, then peel and grate or mince it.  Or you can buy a jar of minced ginger, which will keep in your refrigerator for a long time, and has many uses.  I am generally a fan of the easy way, so I’m willing to spend around three dollars to save the time and mess of dealing with fresh ginger.  If you don’t have or don’t want to use whole wheat flour, just substitute the same amount of all-purpose flour.

Ginger Cookies

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (solid at room temperature)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons minced ginger (fresh or jarred)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Turn on oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together butter and coconut oil, then add brown sugar and beat well.  Beat in eggs, molasses, vanilla extract, and minced ginger.  Beat in salt, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, and whole wheat flour.  Finally, add all-purpose flour and mix well.

To make cookies, scoop up a rounded Tablespoon of dough, form into a flattened disc, about 2” across, then dip in sugar and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Repeat, leaving about 1 inch between cookies on your cookie sheet.  Bake for 9 minutes.  Remove from oven, let cookies set up on baking sheet for a few minutes, and then carefully transfer cookies to a cooling rack.  Cookies will be soft, but will firm up as they cool completely.

Makes about 6 cups of dough, which makes about 48 (4 dozen) cookies.

Nutritional information (per cookie): 120 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 1 gram protein, 19 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams sugars, 1 gram fiber, 13 milligrams cholesterol, 97 milligrams sodium 

 Cost per cookie: 20 cents

 Preparation time:  1 hour


What happens next?

Sometimes my family loves homemade cookies so much that we gobble them up as quickly as they come out of the oven.  It is possible that, with enough hungry tummies, there will not be anything to do next but make something else.

Like most fresh homemade cookies, these will keep for five days at least.  They freeze well too; just be sure to separate layers of cookies with freezer paper or waxed paper to keep them from sticking together.

I have devised an extra special thing to do with some of the cookie dough.  I put aside 1/2 cup of the raw dough to use for the crust of a yummy and easy fruit-topped cheesecake.  This hunk of cookie dough can stay in the refrigerator if it will be used in the next 3 or 4 days.  Otherwise, freeze it.


Another day’s delicious dish – Ginger Pear Cheesecake

cheesecake-served

Some people think of cheesecake as a dessert to be ordered in restaurants, not a dessert to make at home.  It is true that there is a lot to do to make an authentic New York style cheesecake.  But there are some things that go by the name of cheesecake, and are true to the spirit of cheesecake, and are very good.  This recipe is easy and is a favorite of my husband, who loves pears.  If you don’t want to use pears, you can substitute the same size can of peaches in heavy syrup.

If you don’t have Ginger Cookie dough on hand, you can make up a gingery graham cracker crust by combining 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 Tablespoon sugar, and 3 Tablespoons melted butter.  Press this mixture into the bottom of your greased pan, and you are ready to go.

Ginger Pear Cheesecake

  • 1/2 Tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) softened butter
  • 1/2 cup Ginger Cookie dough
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 15.25 ounce can sliced pears (or pear halves) in heavy syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger (fresh or jarred)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Turn on oven to 325 degrees.

Grease an 8” x 8” baking pan with butter.  Pat out Ginger Cookie dough into a square approximately that size.  Place in greased baking pan, pressing out to cover the bottom of the pan evenly.  Set aside.

Separate eggs, putting whites into a medium bowl and yolks into a larger bowl.  Add cream cheese and sugar to egg yolks.  Beat until smooth.  Beat in sour cream and vanilla extract until completely combined.  Beat egg whites until they are frothy and thick.  Fold beaten egg whites into cream cheese mixture.

Pour into cookie crust and bake for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Drain syrup from can of pears, catching all the syrup in a measuring cup.  If necessary, add water to make 3/4 cup of liquid.  Stir in cornstarch until dissolved and set aside.

Melt butter in a medium skillet.  Dice pears and add to skillet, along with minced ginger and ground ginger.  Sauté a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until bubbling and fragrant.  Stir cornstarch and syrup mixture again, then add to skillet.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Pour and spread over baked cheesecake.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Makes 9 servings.

Nutritional information (per serving): 288 calories, 16 grams fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 5 grams protein, 31 grams carbohydrate, 24 grams sugars, 1 gram fiber, 106 milligrams cholesterol, 177 milligrams sodium

 Cost per serving: 82 cents

Preparation time:  1 hour and 30 minutes

Chilling time:  at least 2 hours

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