Monday, August 25, 2008

Toddler Tastes



I've raised 4 children through toddlerhood and each time have thought about writing a letter to General Mills thanking them for making Cheerios, thus helping to keep my children alive. They all seem to go through eating phases where only bland, safe food will pass their lips. Anything outside of the basic 4 food groups (Cheerios, cheese sticks, ketchup, and white bread) is met with suspicion and loathing. I've often wondered what people in countries famous for their spicy foods feed their toddlers. Can they really get toddlers to eat curry, kimchee, and jalapenos? Or do their offspring whine piteously for the local equivalent of Wonder Bread, too?

I think ginger is one of those tastes you have to work into. When they were little my children could only tolerate it in gingerale, the sugared drink barely resembling the root. It wasn't until they got older and developed a slightly more adventurous palate that they began to appreciate ginger. It's got zip, zing, and kapow (sounds like a breakfast cereal) and adds a wake-up call to any food you put it into, savory or sweet. Now we eat it in stir fries, on pizza, and, of course, in cookies.



This version of ginger cookies makes up big, chewy rounds, speckled with chunks of crystallized ginger for bursts of ginger flavor as you chew. With all that gingery goodness, they're the perfect after dinner treat. A digestive aid in a cookie. And since it's in a cookie, you could probably even get a toddler to try it. But if that child is anything like mine, there will be a small pile of ginger beside the plate when he's through.

Giant Gingersnaps
adapted from Great Cookies by Carole Walters

2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter, slightly firm
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cider vinegar
3 Tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger

1- Preheat the oven to 375 deg. F, with racks dividing the oven into thirds. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2- Strain together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

3- In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the butter and the sugars on medium-low speed until creamy and lightened in color, 2 to 3 minutes.

4- Add the egg and mix until well combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla and cider vinegar. Mix for 1 minute longer. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just until combined. Use a rubber spatula to blend inn the crystallized ginger.

5- Roll walnut-sized pieces of dough into balls about 1-1/4 inch across. Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on the cookies sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until golden brown. Reducing the cooking time gives a chewier cookie, while a longer time gives a crispier cookie. Toward the end of the baking time, rotate the pans top to bottom and front to back.

6- Let the cookies rest on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

These cookies can be stored in an airtight container, between layers of wax paper, for up to 3 weeks. Or they can be eaten and shared right away.

30 comments:

Scorps1027 said...

i grew up as the product of 2 parents born and raised in india, so i was introduced to indian food at a very young age. to top that, my grandmother lived with us in america until i was about 7. my brother, sister and i were the pickiest of eaters and when nothing else would be allowed to enter past our lips--spicy or not--my grandmother would always mash up plain white rice with bananas, yoghurt and a tiny bit of sugar, and fashion those into tiny round balls which we would eat.

i guess it would be the equivalent of cheerios?

VeggieGirl said...

I was lucky that my parents introduced me to a variety of foods and tastes at a very young age; but I still went through a phase where I'd only eat a few of the same foods, everyday, haha ;0)

Love those ginger cookies!!

Sarah said...

Those sound great! I keep seeing cookies on blogs from that cookbook...maybe I should buy it!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Those cookies sound great...and lol at the 4 basic food groups. I was an awful, brat of a kid. Apparently I demanded McDonald's and nothing but...to the point where my mom would wrap her own food up in leftover McD wrappers to trick me into eating normal food, lol.

Sean said...

And yet, out of all the children, in spite of my love for ginger, I am the only one not overly fond of it in cookie form. This makes grandma happy though - more for her!

Lien said...

Sound familiar, those piles of leftover (all sorts of stuff) on the rim of the kids plates when we've finished eating. But I think put in a cookie I could get away with a lot...

Peabody said...

I own that book and I have crystalized ginger...I see cookies in my future. :)

Big Boys Oven said...

oh my your gingersnap looks awesomely good, sure taste fantastic!

Arundathi said...

I was feeding my daughter vegetarian, non-spicy foods that I assumed children liked to eat - yes, like wonderbread sandwiches, and lovely soups.

That was before, at the age of 2 she reached for and proceeded to devour a BBQed lamb chop from my husband's plate!! she licked it clean! she still eats her soups but she loves spice! :)

Grace said...

ha--i can just see your son methodically picking out all the ginger bits. sounds like something i'd do. :)

Gigi said...

they look like great cookies! i may have to give ginger another chance.

Lisa said...

I would have 2 piles of ginger = 2 boys. These sound delicious to me....I wouldn't spit anything out, lol.

Jackie said...

Yum! I love how it has the crystallized ginger in it.

Deborah said...

Hmmm, I've only been wanting bland foods lately. I wonder if it's from the baby. These cookies do sound delicious, though!

Maria said...

What beautiful ginger cookies!

LyB said...

Do kids ever outgrow Cheerios? Mine haven't yet, there are still those days when they won't eat a thing! Those cookies though, wow, they sound delicious. I, for one, love ginger so I'm bookmarking this for sure!

Brilynn said...

I always buy crystallized ginger with the intent of baking with it but then I end up eating it out of hand before I ever get to bake with it.

eatme_delicious said...

Oh these ginger cookies look so nice and soft!

Aimée said...

Ginger cookies have been my favorite ever since I can remember...and don't get me started on picky eaters. Good to know I'm not alone!!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I have disliked ginger for so long, then I chewed crystallized ginger all the way across the Atlantic, now I love it.
But ginger snaps have always been a favorite cookie, so I've really always liked ginger.

RecipeGirl said...

I'm proud to say that my 6 year old is a GREAT eater... he likes things like brie, sushi, edamame, asparagus, artichokes... we're lucky. But then again, because I cook so much, he will try everything and has found that he enjoys a variety of things. We never make a separate dinner for our kid.

Some friends of ours took their daughter to Thailand for 6 months when she was 3. She learned to eat everything there.

I think it's great to expose your kids to stuff as early as possible. My niece eats like 6 different things only and they can't even take her out to dinner.

Sorry, I could go on and on about this subject!! Your cookies look great. I'd gobble them up (and my 6 year old would happily gobble them too!)

Melinda said...

You know I love ginger! These cookies look good enough to dunk in to some tea.
Of course, you must never dunk into your tea if you are in the company of The Queen.
(Just thought you may not know this.)

diannem said...

These cookies are worth giving up on a diet. I remember eating these before and they were delicious. BIG HINT HINT HINT :)

Dee Light said...

Mine have all loved cheerios too. Ginger Bread cookies and Ginger Snaps have also been a favotite. I can't wait to try your recipe the vinegar sounds like an interesting addition. I have one recipe for ginger snaps that calls for black pepper. I love it when an unusual ingredient is added to cookies.

Sarah said...

I have to make these RIGHT NOW. Ok, maybe tomorrow. They look amazing, & I love ginger cookies. Your pictures are lovely, as always! :)

Oh, & it wasn't until I became a vegetarian (at 20) that I began to expand my food horizons!

Glenna said...

I love this post. Whenever I see recipes like this I remember how much my Nannie (grandmother) loved gingersnaps or any ginger cookie. It was like secret treasure to her. Thanks for taking me back to those memories.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I started with ginger a couple of years ago and now I love it, Lynn. And the only reason I tried it in the first place was because of my fellow food bloggers!

These cookies are calling out my name, darling. Absolutely perfect. And I'll be making your recipe for crystallized ginger so I can bake these.

WokandSpoon said...

I made a mistake while doing my grocery shopping on the internet the other day and bought half a kilo of ginger and have no idea what to do with it all!! at least I'll be able to use it up making these cookies now. Yum!

Haley said...

The only thing better than a cookie is a giant cookie! Yum!


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kickpleat said...

i've been craving gingersnaps a lot lately. i guess it's the season for them. this recipe looks especially great. i love ginger!