Ginger: Powder vs Candied vs Fresh

Ginger: candied, fresh, powder

Congratulations to Heather Jones P. who won the Big Basket of Holiday Baking Fun Times from Microsoft and TasteSpotting! Heather, PLEASE email us with your mailing address as soon as possible so we can mail this out to you!

We’ve been taking a crash course in baking, rushing through the pages of the Baking Illustrated cookbook before we have to send it off to a giveaway winner

There are hundreds of recipes for everything from blueberry muffins to pizza dough, but the real value of the book, we’re finding, is all the other background information and research that the editors provide. Our favorite section is the one following a recipe for Thick and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies, which lays out the effectiveness of using fresh ginger and/or candied (or crystallized) ginger as additions to ginger cookies. Guess what the conclusion is.

The recipe in Baking Illustrated uses only powdered ginger.

Here is an outline of why.

According to the Baking Illustrated editors, candied ginger:

  • adds pungency without harshness
  • it takes a lot of candied ginger to notice a difference in a recipe
  • must be ground very fined for cookies to make the dough cut-able
  • cant be used alone. You still need powdered ginger.

According to the Baking Illustrated editors, fresh ginger:

  • is more problematic
  • makes thick cookies too puffy and wrinkly
  • you need a lot, ground to a pulp, to make a noticeable taste difference
  • like candied ginger, cant be used alone. You still need powdered ginger.

So there you go.

For gingerbread and ginger cookies, there is no added benefit from using fresh or candied ginger to gingerbread cookies. To make the cookies more gingery, you just need to add more ginger powder.

(This of course, is totally not the case for gingerbread/cake.)

by Sarah J. Gim on December 23, 2011 · 1 comment

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

annabelle for December 24, 2011 at 8:22 am

This is interesting… I just baked up the best batch of ginger cookies I’ve had in a while, however, which used all three. I can’t say for sure that the fresh ginger added anything (and it’s such a pain that I’d be glad to leave it out in the future), but I definitely *did* notice the candied ginger pieces, and loved them. Maybe the trick is to leave them chunky? I didn’t cut the cookies, so that might have made a difference!


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