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Apr 19, 2016

Crystallized Ginger Shortbread Cookies

Crystallized Ginger Shortbread Cookies

These crystalized ginger shortbread cookies are so elegant and sophisticated, and perfect served with vanilla ice cream as a finale for a dinner party...  which is exactly what I did.

The cookies have a really nice spiciness to them, and the kosher salt flakes add a nice contrast to the sweetness.

Crystallized Ginger Shortbread Cookies

This month the Creative Cookie Exchange bakers are baking cookies for Mother's Day. We were charged with choosing a cookie that is somehow connected to our moms.

My mother was a really good cook, but not an everyday cook, nor was she much of a baker. She mostly cooked for "company," and she could whip up an amazing dinner party or luncheon.

In my memory, the dinners for the kids typically consisted of pork chops baked in cream of mushroom soup (which are really good by the way), open faced bacon, tomato, and cheese sandwiches, hamburger patties, these really awful minute steaks, a pasta casserole with tomato sauce and sour cream (which I refused to eat), spaghetti, ravioli from the local Italian deli, and the best thing ever, abalone steaks.

Desserts? My only memory is of angel food cake made from a box and frosted with chocolate whipped cream. I still crave this cake.

In our house, cookies came from Mother's, Pogens, Nabisco, or Hydrox (they are bringing them back!), and later, Pepperidge Farm. Every once in a while, we'd make the recipe on the back of the Toll House chocolate chip bag.

I have three sisters, all younger than me, and each one of them could have a completely different take. Memory is a weird thing, isn't it?

Just so you know, I'm not complaining at all. I'm kind of like my mom when it comes to everyday dinner. Quesadillas, cheese and crackers, and bagged salads figure prominently in my everyday diet.

Crystallized Ginger Shortbread Cookies

These cookies reminded me of my mom because of their sophistication. She had great style, and always knew exactly how to put clothes together, decorate, or create a menu. She also knew all of the rules of etiquette. Even if you want to break the rules, knowing them is indispensable.

When company was coming, you could count on some amazing dishes.... and I still make her stuffing every Thanksgiving. I wouldn't have it any other way.

After the recipe, check out the rest of the Mother's Day cookie recipes.

For another shortbread with ginger, be sure to try these Buttery Ginger Shortbread Cookies

Crystalized Ginger Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Makes about two dozen cookies


3/4 pound unsalted room temperature butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp water
3 1/2 cups (15 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cups minced crystallized ginger
Sparkling sugar for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the paddle attachment on low until combined. 
  3. Add the vanilla and water and mix until combined. 
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture with the mixer on low, until the dough begins to come together. 
  5. Add the ginger, mix briefly, and then turn out the dough onto a work surface.
  6. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes. 
  7. Roll the dough out to 3/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 3/4 inch circles with a cookie cutter. Re-roll the scraps and cut out more cookies. 
  8. Place the cutout cookies on the baking sheets and sprinkle with the sparkling sugar. 
  9. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. 

Mother’s Day is coming! And what better cookies to make than those either in honor of or for our mothers? You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

Would you like to comment?

  1. Ooh these look so good, I love a good ginger cookie! Laura@ Baking in Pyjamas

  2. Ginger cookies and vanilla ice-cream sound delicious! And i liked reading about your memories of food in your house growing up!

    1. Thanks Akshatha! I'm thinking ice cream sandwiches!

  3. Oh where was I when I ate a cookie like this recently? Maybe a restaurant or a sample treat at Trader Joe's? Not sure, but I loved the ginger with shortbread. These look wonderful!

  4. My mother in law would love these--I am saving this recipe to make for her. And yes memory is funny. I am the eldest of 4 with an 8 yr difference between me and the youngest. Sometimes I think we were raised by different people!

  5. Two of my favorite things together; ginger plus shortbread!

  6. Wonderful post Karen. Your mother sounds like a great person, she infused so much love to all of you, it's evident by reading your beautiful words.
    Great recipe as well!
    Have an amazing day dear! xo

  7. These are a lovely tribute to your mom. I know exactly what you are saying about how things are remembered, and it see it already in my girls who remember certain events in slightly different ways even thought they were all there together. I do enjoy spicy cookies, especially those involving ginger, so these would not last long with me.

  8. I made these! They were delicious. Quick tip - watch them closely at 17 minutes. My first batch got over done, Second tray were perfect.

  9. These cookies are delicious. I halved the recipe and they were perfect


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