Blondes Have More Fun? I Think It’s Gingers

March 19 , 2017 by: Amber Trudeau Bars, Candy, Cookies, Icing

When I stumbled across a recipe for what was labelled “Ginger Crunch” cookies/ slices, I was immediately intrigued and merrily skipped through the blog post in which it appeared¬†until I got to the recipe and was eagerly looking for the “crunch” element. I was incredibly disappointed. It was basically just a shortbread cookie topped with a ginger-flavoured icing (not that that in itself doesn’t sound incredibly delicious too of course. That’s not a cookie that I would kick out of bed for eating…ummm…cookies in bed? Mmmmm…sweet, sweet cannibalistic cookies ūüėČ ). “Well,” I thought to myself “clearly this person just doesn’t understand the meaning of the word crunch. I shall Google this idea and see if someone else has come up with something better.” Guess what I found out? Apparently, the “Ginger crunch” is a “well known” (yes! Air quotes used appropriately for the win!) cookie/slice that appears to be quite popular in Australia and New Zealand. That blogger’s recipe was virtually identical to all the other ones I found. My disappointment knew no bounds.

Now I absolutely love New Zealand and when Kevin and I went there about seven years ago, I swear to you, I would’ve moved there in a heartbeat if it weren’t for all the people I’d have to leave behind in Canada. I have no recollection of seeing these slices anywhere at the time, but the entire nation obviously dropped the ball on this one in my opinion name-wise ūüėČ . This was then¬†clearly followed up with me deciding that this supposedly “classic” cookie, needed a lesson in false advertising. I would improve upon it of course by making it actually live up to its name. I essentially followed the basic original ginger crunch recipe, but instead of just short bread and icing, I added in a middle layer of a ginger praline (remember my ginger praline attempts from a couple of weeks ago? Now you’re seeing that concept come to fruition. Delicious delicious fruition. Drool….). Now THAT is a crunch cookie. Huzzah! (and, can I say, ginger praline is a brilliant brilliant invention? Crunchy, ginger-y – even if you’re too lazy to make full-on cookies, I recommend making the praline part and just putting it on…well…everything. Or eating it straight up like brittle. Or whatever other creative usage you can think of (not sure if I really want to know what your other usages would be, but I don’t judge ūüėČ ).

Now if you’re still feeling a little hesitant on these, I will also inform you that Kevin, who is not really a ginger fan, loved these and said they were delicious. Ginger lovers and haters unite! Amber, humbly creating world harmony since….well, possibly only this moment right now, but I’ll take it!

REAL Ginger Crunch Bars

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

Cookie Base:

  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup toasted flour (see how to do this¬†here, if you don’t want to do this, feel free to omit and just do 1 1/2 cups of flour total)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons powdered ginger

Praline Center:

  • 1/2¬†cup sugar
  • ¬ľ ¬†teaspoon baking soda
  • ¬ľ cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons¬†golden syrup (or agave, or maple syrup if you can’t find this. Golden syrup is a specialty thing I could only find in British shops, but was totally worth getting. Consistency is similar to agave or corn syrup. The flavour is maybe somewhat similar to corn syrup mixed with maple syrup and a bit of molasses. Sort of.)
  • 1 teaspoons powdered ginger
  • ¬ľ cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • ¬ľ cup chopped candied ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vegan butter
  • 1¬†teaspoons rum

Ginger Icing:

  • 3 tablespoons¬†vegan butter
  • 1 1/2¬†tablespoons golden syrup (or agave, or maple syrup if you can’t find this. Golden syrup is a specialty thing I could only find in British shops, but was totally worth getting. Consistency is similar to agave or corn syrup. The flavour is maybe somewhat similar to corn syrup mixed with maple syrup and a bit of molasses. Sort of.)
  • 1/2¬†cup sifted icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons powdered ginger

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and lightly grease and 8×8 baking dish.
  2. For the cookie base, cream together the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until combined (a few minutes ideally).
  3. In a separate small bowl, sift together both flours, baking powder, cornstarch and ginger and blend into the dry ingredients in a couple of batches until combined. You’ll likely have to get in there with your hand a bit to do the final combining since it’s a drier cookie base (which is what you want! Don’t add more liquid).
  4. Press the dough into your pan and press down on the surface to flatten. I used a glass to help press it down (tip: I found if you twisted and pressed the glass a bit it really helped to compress the dough).
  5. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes (or about the time it’ll take you to make the ginger praline).
  6. To make the praline center, in a smallish heavy saucepan combine the sugar, baking soda, coconut milk, golden syrup, and powdered ginger. Place the pan on medium-high heat and bring the syrup to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved (about 5 ‚Äď 6 minutes).
  7. Cover the saucepan and boil for 3 minutes without stirring!! (stirring will cause the sugar to crystallize which you don’t want).
  8. Remove the cover and continue boiling without stirring until it reaches 225F on a candy thermometer.
  9. Sprinkle in the pecans and candied ginger and gently swirl to mix in (or give it a very slow and gentle stir or two).
  10. Continue boiling until syrup reaches 240F on a candy thermometer.
  11. Remove from heat and add the rum and butter and swirl the pan until combined.
  12. Moving quickly-ish (in case your syrup sets up more than mine did), remove your cookies from the oven and pour the praline syrup over the base, spreading it out as evenly as you can (doesn’t have to be perfect, you just don’t want huge clumps in one spot and nothing in other spots). Return to the oven and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes.
  13. While the praline-topped cookies are cooling, make your icing by  heating the butter and golden syrup in a small bowl in the microwave. Whisk in the icing sugar and ginger, stirring until smooth. Once praline topping is reasonably set, spread icing over cookies.
  14. If you’re impatient, you can place in the refrigerator until icing is set, but I’d actually recommend cutting and storing these at room temperature.

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About Amber

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Hi, I'm Amber Trudeau.  I bake.... a lot.

I'm also vegan, and found that whenever I went out to a restaurant my dessert choices were limited to sorbet, sorbet, and sorbet.  So I started making my own desserts. I wanted them to taste good though - so my ultimatum was to make delicious desserts that also happen to be dairy-free and egg-free. Every week or so, I challenge myself to try something new.  To recreate some kind of traditional dessert that tastes amazing without using animal products.

Have a challenge for me? Send me a note:

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