Recipe: Whiskey Gingers cookie, first place in Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest

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Whiskey Gingers

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Note: We preferred using salted cashews. Bourbon can be substituted for whiskey. Crystallized ginger is found in the baking aisle. Our 2019 winning recipe is from Janet Heirigs of Minneapolis.

For dough:

• 2 1/2 c. flour

• 2 tsp. ground ginger

• 2 tsp. baking soda

• 1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 c. packed dark brown sugar

• 1 egg

• 2 tbsp. whiskey (see Note)

1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger root

2/3 c. minced crystallized ginger (about 3 oz.), divided (see Note)

For ginger-sugar mixture:

• 1 tsp. ground ginger

• 1/2 c. granulated sugar

For whiskey glazed cashews:

• 1 tsp. maple syrup

• 1/2 tsp. whiskey

1 tsp. of ginger-sugar mixture

• Pinch of kosher salt

3/4 c. whole cashews, unsalted or salted (see Note)

For icing:

1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tbsp. cream cheese, at room temperature

• 1 tsp. ground ginger

• 1 1/2 tsp. whiskey

• 2 c. powdered sugar

3 to 6 tsp. half-and-half or milk

Directions

To prepare dough: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and reserve.

In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat 3/4 cup butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, 2 tablespoons whiskey and grated ginger root and mix until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture, mixing until well blended. Stir in 1/3 cup crystallized ginger. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or overnight.

To prepare ginger-sugar mixture: In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon ground ginger and granulated sugar, reserving 1 teaspoon for glazing cashews.

To prepare whiskey glazed cashews: Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon whiskey, 1 teaspoon ginger-sugar mixture and kosher salt. Toss cashews in whiskey mixture until well coated. Spread cashews on prepared baking sheet and bake until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Chop cashews into small pieces and reserve.

To prepare cookies: When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Dip the top half of each ball into ginger-sugar mixture and place dough 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until edges are lightly brown and tops are lightly cracked, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare icing: In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat 1 tablespoon butter, cream cheese, 1 teaspoon ground ginger and 1 1/2 teaspoons whiskey until creamy. Reduce speed to low and slowly add powdered sugar. Add half-and-half (or milk), 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach desired consistency.

To assemble cookies: In a small bowl, stir together remaining 1/3 cup crystallized ginger with chopped whiskey glazed cashews.

Spread icing on top of each cookie, then sprinkle crystallized ginger-whiskey glazed cashews mixture over the icing. Allow icing to set before serving.

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