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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.)