It’s been months since I’ve baked cookies. Chilly, damp days this week have spurred me to turn on the oven and mix up some dough.
The cool weather has also put me in the mood to clean out my pantry and refrigerator. Long overdue!
As I was digging through the pull-out shelves of my pantry, I came upon a shallow, clear plastic box of thin slices of crystallized ginger a friend had given me late last winter. It was still soft. I popped a slice into my mouth. Still chewy. Spicy-sweet heat tickled my taste-buds. My mind began reeling with creative ways to use up some of that ginger. I set it on the counter.
When I got to the opened box of rice krispies, I remembered a cookie recipe I’ve been making for years that includes a cup of the crisp rice cereal. Then came the bar of Ghirardelli white chocolate called Vanilla Dream. I ripped the outer cardboard wrap to get to the inside. The white chocolate bar was speckled with vanilla beans. I’m not a huge fan of white chocolate, but this smelled divine. I set it on the counter right beside the crystallized ginger and the cereal.
It didn’t take long for me to decide to toss those new-found ingredients into some cookie dough.
I pulled a recipe from my collection called Barbara’s Cookies. I don’t know who Barbara is, but I got the recipe from Flora, a woman from Worthington, Minn. who was visiting my mother- and father-in-law many years ago. I remember Flora telling me it was the most delicious cookie she’d ever tasted. I do agree that these crispy, crunchy cookies are just the kind that easily slide right down with a tall glass of cold milk. My husband gives them five stars.
I followed Barbara’s recipe, adding my own tweaks. I browned the butter to add more rich nutty flavor to the cookies. Ginger and white chocolate are my own additions. I was planning to use macadamia nuts in the cookies since it seemed I had a tropical theme going with these cookies. But, can you believe I could not find macadamias in the local stores? I did make a great discovery, though, as I was perusing the snack aisle. A (21-ounce) can of Planters Select Macadamias, Cashews and Almonds was a delicious combination of roasted and sea salted nuts to chop up and add to the cookies. The container was big enough so that there were plenty of nuts for nibbling on as a snack for a few days.
I could call these Crispy White Chocolate Ginger Nut Oatmeal Coconut Cookies. That’s way too long. For now I’ll just call them Sue’s Cookies. They are a good reason to heat up the oven on a cool day.
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
- 1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup crisp rice cereal
- 1/2 cup nuts, chopped
- 1 cup coconut, toasted
- 1 cup chopped white chocolate
In a saute pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Bring butter to golden brown by allowing it to gently bubble for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in brown sugar. Use a rubber spatula to scrape butter mixture into a glass pie plate. Place in refrigerator and allow to chill for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Sift flour, cream of tartar and baking soda together and set aside.
Scrape chilled butter mixture into large mixing bowl. Add granulated sugar and beat until fluffy. Add oil, egg, vanilla and ginger and beat to blend. Add sifted dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until dry ingredients are incorporated into the dough. Stir in oatmeal, cereal, nuts, coconut and white chocolate.
Roll cookie dough into balls, using 1 1/2 tablespoons for each ball. Flatten slightly with palm of hand. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Bottom of cookies will be golden. Transfer to rack to cool. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
Tips from the cook
I toasted the coconut in the same saute pan that I used for browning the butter. I didn’t even wipe it out first. Just stir the coconut over medium heat until it begins to turn golden. Immediately transfer the coconut to a plate to cool.
When you’re shopping for white chocolate, check the list of ingredients. Be sure the bar you purchase has cocoa butter in it.
I find crystallized ginger in different areas of the supermarket depending on which store I’m shopping in. Sometimes it’s in the candy aisle, sometimes the natural food section and sometimes in the aisle with the baking products. It’s worth the search.