There is a reason that cooks from all over the world like tamarind. Its pulp adds a blast of tang and pucker to food—both savory and sweet. Tamarind is like tangy MSG. It makes your mouth water. In this spiced-up ginger cookie, tamarind gives the cookies a subtle note of tang, bringing out the flavor of the spices.
Ginger is, by far, the dominant flavor in this cookie. For a sharper ginger flavor, add 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root in place of the candied ginger. For a more tang, double the tamarind concentrate. Tamarind concentrate comes in a jar and keeps for ages in the refrigerator. While I have not made these cookies with tamarind pulp (sold seedless in blocks in the Southeast Asian aisle of a well-stocked grocery store—it needs to be soaked in hot water and pushed through a sieve first), it may work great. Just use as much of the solid paste and not as much of the resulting tamarind water.
Tamarind Ginger Cookies
Makes 32 cookies
- 170 grams / ¾ cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 210 grams / 1¼ cups firmly packed dark muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 70 grams / ¼ cup sorghum syrup or molasses
- 22 grams / 1 heaping tablespoon tamarind concentrate
- 330 grams / 2⅓ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch of sea salt flakes (optional)
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon garam masala or a mix of cinnamon and allspice
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- 90 grams / a scant ¾ cup coarsely chopped candied ginger
- About ½ cup evaporated cane sugar or regular granulated sugar, for coating
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter briefly on medium speed for 5 to 10 seconds. Add the muscovado sugar and cream until the butter mixture is light (thoroughly aerated), about 4 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together.
In a small bowl, combine the egg and vanilla. In a small liquid measuring cup lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray (or vegetable oil), mix together the sorghum and tamarind concentrate.
On medium speed, add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine, 10 seconds. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together. Add the sorghum and tamarind and mix on medium speed for 20 to 30 seconds to make nearly homogenous.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
Add the dry ingredients in two installments, mixing on low speed in between additions to keep the flour from flying out of the bowl. Add the chopped ginger and mix briefly until the dough just comes together. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. If there are still some dry bits at the base of the bowl, bring the dough together completely with a plastic bench scraper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line three half sheet (13 by 18-inch) pans with parchment paper. (Or just be ready to reload pans once they’ve cooled.)
Put the cane sugar for coating the cookies in a bowl. Using a ¾-ounce (1½-tablespoon) ice cream scoop, portion the dough into 12 mounds and roll into balls. Coat each ball completely with the cinnamon sugar.
Evenly space up to 12 balls on each pan. Bake one pan at a time for 8 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake until the tops are barely set, the edges are lightly golden, and the tops are crinkled and set, another 4 to 6 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 2 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight tin. Alternatively, freeze them—they have this great chewy center when you eat them as they start to defrost.