Feel free to use all-purpose flour if that is what you have on hand. Again, in regards to the ginger - mince it as if you were trying to turn it into a paste. Two sugar coating. In my most recent batch of these I used a big, flaked, smoked sea salt along with sugar to finish the cookies, so that is something to experiment with as well, but totally optional. I grind whole star anise in my spice grinder and then do a bit of sifting.
1/2+ cup large-grain sugar (i.e. turbinado)
2 cups spelt flour OR whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon star anise, finely ground
4 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses (I use Wholesome Sweeteners brand)
2/3 cup fine grain natural cane sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 large egg, well beaten
1 cup crystallized ginger, then finely minced
2 lemons, zest only
Preheat the oven to 350F degree - racks in the top and bottom 1/3 of the oven. Line a couple baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper or a Silpat mat, place the large-grain sugar in a small bowl, and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, star anise, ground ginger, and salt.
Heat the butter in a skillet until it is just barely melted. Stir in the molasses, natural cane sugar, and fresh ginger. The mixture should be warm, but not hot at this point, if it is hot to touch let it cool a bit. Whisk in the egg. Now pour this over the flour mixture, add the crystallized ginger (make sure it isn't too clumpy), and lemon zest. Stir until just combined.
I like these cookies tiny, barely bite-sized, so I scoop out the dough in exact, level tablespoons. I then tear those pieces of dough in two before rolling each 1/2 tablespoon of dough into a ball shape. From there, grab a small handful of the big sugar you set aside earlier and roll each ball between your palms to heavily coat the outside of each dough ball. Place dough a few inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until cookies puff up, darken a bit, get fragrant and crack.
Makes about 4 dozen or so.
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