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Candied Ginger-Cardamom Bars

March 3, 2014

Lent begins this week, and over the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what sacrifices I want to make during this season. This is only the third year we’ve observed Lent: last year I went gluten-free, and the year before my husband and I both ate only vegetarian food. This year I’ve decided I’m going to give up added sugars, both in recipes and in packaged/prepared foods. I’m allowing myself honey, but that will be the only sweetener I can use. (I don’t use artificial sweeteners as a general rule anyway.)

So with that, I’m going to post some desserts from the past few months, before it gets too hard to look at them! ;) These bar cookies from the Bon Appetit cookbook were unusual, both in terms of taste and preparation. That’s not to say they didn’t taste excellent, but I was a bit skeptical at first of how they were going to turn out! The dough is made using the same techniques as press-in tart dough: cutting butter into the dry ingredients, then adding a liquid (in this case an egg), mixing until clumps form, and pressing into a pan. I thought this would lead to incredibly dense and crumbly cookies, but while they were dense, the texture was chewy rather than crumbly. The cardamom-ginger flavor was unusual but worked well with the texture, giving the cookies an exotic touch.

These cookies are too rich for everyday snacks/dessert, but I can definitely see myself making them again to take to a party or luncheon. Enjoy!

Chewy ginger cardamom bar cookies

Bars can be made up to 2 days ahead. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes 24

Ingredients

  • 2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½  teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1  cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1  large egg, beaten to blend
  • 3/4  cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (about 4 ounces)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9x9x2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Blend flour, sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt in processor. Add butter; using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 2 tablespoons beaten egg; blend until moist crumbs form. Add ginger. Using on/off turns, process until moist clumps form. Gather dough together. Using plastic wrap as aid, press dough evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Brush remaining beaten egg over dough. Using small sharp knife, score top of dough with diagonal lines spaced 1 inch apart. Repeat at right angles, forming lattice pattern.
  2. Bake until pastry is golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer pan to rack and cool completely.
  3. Cut pastry square into 3 long rectangles. Cut each rectangle crosswise into 8 rectangular bars, making 24 bars total.

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