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Z-I-N-G Ginger Cookies

These ginger cookies will make your mouth dance! Guaranteed! The ginger gets the zing started but the hot mustard powder and black pepper keeps the zing zinging. Yes, you read that correctly. Add mustard powder and black pepper to your cookies. You will not detect a mustard taste. You will not detect a black pepper taste. You will not think PASTRAMI! Yum! I love pastrami. Where is the rye bread? I have the mustard. You will, instead, think, what a ginger zingy cookie. Yum!

These perfectly gingery cookies have a slight browned butter taste which perfectly supports the brown sugar and molasses foundation. The mustard and black pepper support the ginger zing. The ginger? It is the star of the show. It does not support anything; it sings, it dances, it is center stage. Ginger truly is the star of this cookie. Mustard and black pepper are supporting actors.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup molasses

1 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger (optional)

12 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder (I prefer Oriental Hot Mustard powder from Penzeys)

1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

sugar for rolling cookie balls

Sift flour and baking soda into a medium sized mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl stir together the brown sugar, sugar, molasses, and fresh ginger. If you are using the fresh ginger then use a rasp grater to grate it fine. Add the ginger and the juices to your sugar mixture. Stir together with a spatula. Set aside.

In a medium sized saucepan add butter, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, mustard powder, and black pepper. Melt the butter over medium low heat until melted and beginning to bubble. Turn the heat down to low and let the butter brown and the spices bloom for 6-8 minutes until the butter just begins to brown and develops a nutty, spicy, aroma. Keep the heat low and keep an attentive eye on the simmering mixture.

Pour the browned butter and spices over the sugar mixture and stir for 30 seconds with a spatula. Let the mixture rest for 3 minutes. Use the spatula to stir the butter/sugar mixture for 30 seconds. Let rest for 3 minutes. Repeat this process 3 more times for a total resting time of 15 minutes. By this time the butter will be cool but still soft and the sugar will be well hydrated. Now add the egg and mix well.

Now it is time to roll your dough into cookie balls. I prefer to use my scale and measure out 35 grams of dough per cookie but you can always use a cookie scoop to make evenly sized cookie balls. I roll each cookie into a smooth ball and place in a baking dish for its refrigerator chill time. Cookies only get better and better with a long chill time. I often let my cookie balls chill 48-72 hours before baking. This allows flavors to develop and the sugar to become completely hydrated. That translates into an GOOD OUTRAGEOUS cookie.

If your mouth is impatient and wants to dance today then go ahead and preheat your oven 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. After a full 1 hour chill roll cookie balls in granulated sugar and place cookie balls on paper. I bake only 8 at a time to give generous spreading room. Bake 12 - 14 minutes or just until the edges are set and have just begun to brown. Let pans cool 10 minutes on cooling racks. Eat cookie and let mouth dance a ginger jig.

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