27 January 2012

Biscotti Arrabbiati allo Zenzero (Spicy Ginger Cookies)

I recently had a very specific request for a ginger molasses cookie.
I'm not kidding when I say very specific.

My (boy) bff will almost always happily eat anything I make. However, it's rarely without some commentary1 or inquisition, neither of which could be described as "gentle":
  • "These cookies are too small."
  • "These cookies are too soft."
  • "These cupcakes aren't sweet enough."
  • "What's in these??"
  • "What's that flavor??"
It's really more in the delivery of the criticism, than the criticism itself. I just can't quite accurately convey it in writing.

In all fairness, we have been friends for 14 years. He's very much like a brother, so we speak very frankly to one another. He's also developed something of a food paranoia2 after going through an OSHA training at work.

He is vegan. He does consume gluten, soy, cane sugar, etc... (none of which, you will find in these biscotti!). He knows that whatever I make for him is going to be Cucina Libera-ted,3 but he's fine with it (or... erm... see above).  
Despite complaining, he continues to taste-test4 most of my recipes. I quite like feedback (see above) from a more conventional and particular eater. It's helpful.5

So, when he requested ginger molasses cookies, I felt I should make them to his specifications: bigger, sweeter, crisper.
It's nice to make others happy.6

In that same vein ("niceness"), I always post recipes that cater (primarily) to my tastebuds. I thought it would be fun (and nice) to share one that caters more to someone else's, while still being unrefined and healthy(ier).

In his honor, I've decided to call them Biscotti Arrabbiati allo Zenzero.

Biscotti = Cookies; yes, I know they're not twice-baked, but that's the closest term we have for "cookies". If the term "arrabbiati" seems familiar, perhaps it's because you're familiar with Pasta all'Arrabbiata - pasta (typically penne) with a spicy red sauce. Arrabbiata indicates that it's spicy, which of course can easily apply to ginger. However, the word arrabbiato/a literally means angry, which can easily apply to my bff.7
I thought it was perfectly fitting... and rather clever, if I do say so myself.

 Biscotti Arrabbiati allo Zenzero
 (makes 12** )
  • 1 Cup (130g) All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (I use my own blend) 
  • 2 Tbsp (15g) Buckwheat Flour 
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder (or DIY
  • 1 tsp Ginger - ground or freshly grated (fresh will be spicier) 
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves 
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt 
  • 1 Tbsp (10g) Coconut Sugar 
  • 2 Tbsp (50g) Unsulphured Molasses
  • 1/2 Chia Egg (1/2T ground Chia + 1 1/2T filtered water) 
  • 3 Tbsp (45g) Earth Balance Coconut Spread
  • 1 Tbsp Filtered Water (or non-dairy milk)  
  • Ginger-Coconut Sugar (for topping - Optional)

Oven 325F/160C

Lightly grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil or palm shortening.
Prepare the chia egg, and set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, coconut sugar, salt and spices. Mix well.

Add the chia egg, molasses, Earth Balance and water. Mix until all ingredients are well-combined and a smooth, even dough forms. The dough should be fairly stiff.

Form the dough into 2" balls; then press the ball flat between your palms. Gently lay the dough disc (it's not a biscotto yet!) into a mixture of 3 parts coconut sugar, 1 part ground ginger (adjust as desired), and place on to the cookie sheet with the sugar side up.

Bake for 20-25 minutes for crisper cookies
     OR   12-15 minutes for softer cookies

 **This recipe yields approximately 2 Dozen Cucina Libera-sized cookies. Simply roll into 1" balls, and bake for slightly less time.

If you don't mind cane sugar, you can toss in some chopped crystalized ginger; you'll get an extra spicy kick and a nice bit of additional texture.


1. Feedback/brutal honesty/complaining
2. Hmph. It's great to practice food safety, but sometimes it gets out of control.

3. Clever or Maximum Dork? You decide.
4. "Scarf" down.

5. Truly.  Tastebuds that tend to want sweet, fat, gluten-ey, over-frosted can still like unprocessed, unrefined, less-sweet, GF... creations. I must be getting something right... right?

6. Even if they don't always show it. 
7. I say that with affection; uh... ok... sometimes.

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