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July 1, 2008

Crystallized ginger (Recipe: ginger-apricot biscotti)

Crystallized ginger adds bite to these ginger-apricot biscotti.

When I was young, I learned a thing or two about folk remedies.

My grandmother taught me that chicken soup would cure all ills.

My mother taught me that Hershey chocolate bars could cure what chicken soup could not.

Nobody taught me that chewing crystallized ginger could help restore equilibrium, combat sea sickness, mitigate hot flashes, and alleviate symptoms of the common cold -- or that it would taste so amazingly good.

Crystallized ginger is fresh ginger that has been peeled, cut into small pieces, boiled in a simple syrup of sugar and water, and then rolled in granulated sugar. It's pungent and sweet, easy to make, easy to find in grocery stores (look in the baking aisle) and Asian markets, and easy to buy online (I like Penzeys' Australian ginger).

When you shop for crystallized ginger (also called candied ginger), be sure to read the ingredients. Sometimes sulfur dioxide is added to help fix the color; if possible, buy a product that contains only ginger and sugar.

Stored in an airtight container, crystallized ginger will keep for up to two years. If it clumps or the sugar on the outside of the individual pieces begins to deteriorate, the ginger has passed its prime and should be replaced.

I always have crystallized ginger in my pantry.

I have Hershey bars in the pantry, too. For medicinal purposes, of course.

Gingerbiscotti_3

Ginger-apricot biscotti

Last summer, many bloggers cooked from Faith Heller Willinger's Adventures of an Italian Food Lover. I made two recipes: chicken with herbs, cooked under a brick, and these biscotti. Easy, quick, and needing only one baking, they were so delicious that I decided to make them again, adapting the recipe slightly. Makes 20.

Ingredients

3-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp demarara sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/2 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped
3 eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Combine the flour, baking powder, powdered ginger, sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut the chilled butter into the flour and sugar mixture (or pulse in a food processor). Add the chopped crystallized ginger, dried fruits and apple to the flour-sugar mixture.

In another bowl, beat the eggs and cream together, and add to the dried ingredients. Mix quickly, until the dough comes together. Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper, pat out to an 8-by-10 inch rectangle that's 3/4-inch thick. Cut into 2-1/2 inch squares.

Bake on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat (silicone liner) or parchment paper for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More ginger desserts:

Kicked-up gingerbread
Honey gingerbread cookies
Pumpkin pie
Ginger spiced mixed nuts
Kate's Ginger Shortcakes

Other recipes that use crystallized ginger:
Glazed cranberry quick bread with crystallized ginger, from Cookin' Canuck
Ginger cookies, from Brown Eyed Baker
Kale salad with cranberries, pepitas and crystallized ginger, from Chaos in the Kitchen
Chocolate ginger scones, from All Day I Dream About Food
Banana bread with chocolate chips and crystallised ginger, from Purple Foodie

Ginger apricot biscotti in a nontraditional shape.

Comments

I love how ingredients like ginger are so mainstream. It's a must for me, always have at least some ginger root in the freezer.

Lydia, I'd like a short espresso, 1 sugar and a biscotti, please & thank you!

I remember when crytallized ginger was so "exotic" you could only order it through Williams Sonoma. Fortunately, its much more available now. It's such a great ingredient in biscotti, too - a wonderful snap of flavor!

Candied ginger can be SOOO varied, my favorite less-sweet version used to come from Wild Oats so I hope it's survived the Whole Foods acquisition.

Question: I thought the very definition of biscotti was a twice-baked cookie? The square shape also makes me think of scones, though with 1/4 the butter!

What a perfect treat for Canada Day!

So we finally get to see a photo of your finished dish! :D The biscotti look delicious.
I've been adding bits of candied ginger (we love the one from Trader Joe's) to granola.

Wait. One of my favorite treats alleviates hot flashes?! How about night-sweats? Gorgeous biscotti!

These look great! I've been very interested about the curative properties of ginger lately. Getting a dose via biscotti sounds perfect to me! I was also interested in Willinger's book. It sounds like she has some good recipes!

Price varies amazingly -- the tiny jars cost multiples of the bulk ginger from Whole Foods or the packages at Trader Joe's. And the stuff in the little jars looks ancient!

Lydia, these look simply amazing.
I can just imagine how good they smell while baking.

The biscotti looks yummy. May I make a suggestion for a quick and cool summer dessert? Take 1 1/2 lbs of green grapes cut in half, 1 pt sour cream, 2 tbsp. brown sugar or to taste, 1/4 lb candied ginger in little chunks. Mix all and refrigerate

I've always loved ginger snaps but fresh ginger is a more recent love for me. Candied ginger I took on our Atlantic crossings, I was everybody's friend. Biscotti sound grand.

I've never tried crystallized ginger and always wondered if it was something like this. This is very good to know and it sounds like I should probably pick some up (or make some!). The biscotti sounds like a great application

I never knew this can be used to make dessert ... always learn something new here :)

I always have crystallized ginger on hand, too. I get it attractively priced in tubs from my supermarket. It's become quite popular. Lovely biscotti. Ginger and apricot are a natural pairing.

I've been on a biscotti rampage lately. It seems I can't get enough, so I've been trying tons of new recipes for them. I thought I had finally conquered this addiction when i saw the link to your recipe. I love candied ginger in scones, so I'm willing to bet its amazing in biscotti as well. thanks!

I love the ease of these biscotti, and the flavor combo looks great. Now I am convinced you have the perfect pantry complete with Hershey's. You had wise elders!

I'm generally not one for holistic healing, but I will ginger quells nausea and an upset stomach very well. And these biscotti sound fabulous. I especially love the addition of the tart cranberries in contrast to the sweet apricots.

Peter, doesn't an espresso and a biscotti sound lovely?!

TW, I do remember how hard it was to find good quality crystallized ginger -- only in gourmet stores, and if you were lucky enough to live near an Italian neighborhood, you could find it at the candy stores. I've never tried to make my own. Soon, I think.

Alanna, "biscotti" means any type of biscuit, though we tend to think of them as the twice-baked type that's so nice to dunk in coffee. I'll look for the Whole Foods crystallized ginger -- would love to compare it to Penzeys, where I usually buy.

Rupert, yes it is! Happy Canada Day to you and to all Canadians visiting this site today.

Nupur, every now and then I take a photo of a finished dish that actually looks like something you'd want to eat! Crystallized ginger in granola sounds like something I'd want to eat.

Ann, wouldn't that be nice? I share your pain.

Christina, from what I've read, ginger is really an all-purpose cure, so good for your health. Check out the cookbook, too; there are dozens of recipes I want to try.

Mae, Trader Joe's is a great source for this, as is Penzeys.

Mary, they really have a lovely aroma. I hope you'll try them.

Pauline, thank you so much! That dessert does sound refreshing, and I'm all for anything easy that doesn't require heating the kitchen.

MyKitchen, did you use the crystallized ginger for motion sickness? I've never tried it, but I know people who swear that it works.

Mike, how about crystallized ginger chunks in one of your wonderful ice creams?

Noobcook, this ginger is sweet and chewy, like candy, and it's perfect in sweet desserts.

Susan, sounds like you have a great local supermarket! Mine only has the little jars.

Erin, these biscotti are more scone-like than cookie-like, and the dried cranberries add a nice counterpoint to the sweet ginger. Try them!

Callipygia, without chocolate bars (for those "emergencies"), no pantry is complete!

Susan, I'm also a fan of ginger tea, which seems to settle everything down when I'm feeling a bit ragged. Ginger definitely has healing properties -- but it also has great flavor.


Ooh, Lydia, delicious!

I'll put crystallized ginger in anything - oatmeal cookies, mandelbrodt, brownies - but my favorite is a double chocolate ginger scone I used to make. Your ginger posts are inspiring and have a sweet bite!

I truly love crystalized ginger and am addicted to adding it to gingersnaps. These look like a great alternative.

Ack! Another ingredients that I need to order from Penzeys. I love tossing crstalized ginger in things. Or nibbling on them! Beautiful pictures!

I'm eating sheep's milk yogurt with crystallized ginger right now, and it's very refreshing.

I never knew crystallized ginger could do all that ! i've been looking for some, but cant seem to find any here in Africa. Your lovely post makes me want it so much more now. The scones look lovely.

I have yet to try crystallized ginger, Lydia. I think I can get seriously hooked. :)

Bad cook, bad cook---I've never tried crystallized ginger and have absolutely no excuse as to why. I've often see it, bought fresh anyway and never given a moment's thought as to why. Clearly I should rethink my negligence.

Question - does crystallized ginger help alleviate cold symptoms more so than fresh ginger? Or is that just a wives' tale? My little one has caught a nasty summer cold right before vacation and I'd rather get things (i.e. the runny nose) under control before we set out on our adventure!

Marilyn, there's a nice double-ginger recipe coming tomorrow. Stay tuned....

Laurie, Trader Joe's makes a ginger cookie that has crystallized ginger chunks in it. Talk about addictive!

Sher, yes yes yes, add this to your Penzeys list.

Lisa, that sounds delicious.

Kate, these biscuits are very good indeed. You can make them without the crystallized ginger, and add a bit of powdered ginger to the dry ingredients to give a spicy flavor.

Patricia, cookies with chunks of crystallized ginger are wonderful. I really think you'll like them.

Sandie, maybe it has more to do with getting kids to eat crystallized ginger because it's sweet, but no matter, I think fresh and crystallized ginger are both good for soothing coughts and colds. Nobody wants to take a cold on vacation, so why not try it?

i love crystallized ginger it's absolutely the most fantastic discovery since toast! And those biscotti - wow they look awesome!

I've never seen square biscotti...I should make it that way.

Meeta, I love it too, for the unexpected delight of finding it in something like these scones.

Peabody, this was the first time I've ever made biscotti this way. So easy...

Oh, I adore ginger. I often used crystallized ginger in hot water for morning sickness. And, I recently used it in brioche. Delish.

Maybells Mom, ginger in brioche? Sounds divine!

I just bought crystallized ginger for the first time. The recipe sounds like a perfect way to give it a try. Thanks

Food Hunter, welcome to The Perfect Pantry. I'm sure you'll like this recipe -- the biscotti are truly delicious.

I love Crystallized ginger and I make it every year to put in my fruitcake...and I eat some just the way it is.

Shayne, I'm so impressed that you make your own crystallized ginger. I've never tried to do it, but now I'm inspired!

Please help. I am trying to find ginger withour sugar! I love ginger, but I am a diabetic and cannot have the sugar.Please advise if you can. Thanks.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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