Tag Archives: ginger

Peppernuts, Pfeffernusse, Pepernoten

Peppernuts are my husband’s favorite Christmas cookie, but I did not grow up with them since I’m neither Dutch, German, or Mennonite. This recipes is different from most peppernut recipes in that it has more of some of the spices and it includes fresh ginger. The fresh ginger comes from living in places where it’s easier to find fresh ginger than dry.

The good thing about peppernuts is that they’re very flavorful and good for munching. They are sort of a strange cookie though. They’re supposed to be hard and crunchy like nuts (hence the name). They have lots of black pepper in them.

James’ family recipe for them isn’t specific about the amount of flour to use, so you have to know when the dough “looks right”. That’s the part that I’m bad at. I expect recipes to have actually quantities of ingredients and I didn’t know what peppernut dough was supposed to look like. So I would just dump all the flour in and end up with a dough that was impossible to roll into snakes (like the original recipes says to do).

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Gingerbread Men

This is probably my favorite Christmas cookie, although I also like molasses cookies. It’s not a coincidence that both of them involve a lot of molasses. I got the recipe for this cookie from Real Simple. I like this recipe because it makes a lot of cookies. Molasses is hard to find here, but you can get it in Vientiane. I also recently heard that there’s a liquid version of nam oi (solid raw cane sugar) sold at the market in town, but I haven’t looked for it yet. If you want to substitute fresh ginger for ground, you can, but be sure to use more of it since it’s not as concentrated.

I decorated the cookies with royal icing which is good for gingerbread cookies because it dries hard. The recipe says not to eat royal icing because of the raw egg whites, but I don’t think egg whites are a problem.

Apple Pie With Fresh Ginger

I made this apple pie for Thanksgiving, but it would be good for Christmas too. I just took a standard apple pie recipe and substituted fresh ginger for the dry ground ginger. When you substitute fresh ginger for dry, you need to use more because fresh ginger isn’t as concentrated. This recipe at Allrecipes.com calls for 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger, but I used 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger. Actually, I think I should have only used 1/2 a tablespoon. Continue reading

Molasses Cookies

This is one of my favorite cookie recipes because it’s easy, soft and chewy, and because I love molasses. If molasses was easier to get in Laos, I would make these cookies a lot more often. You can sometimes find it at Phimphone in Vientiane. If you don’t have ground ginger you can use raw ginger instead. Just make sure it’s very finely grated or pounded in a mortar and pestle.

You can find the recipe at Allrecipes.com. I don’t need to edit this one – it’s good already.

Chana Masala – Indian Garbanzo Beans

Now this dish isn’t the most local because the beans come from India, but I really like it anyway. We can’t get garbanzos in town, but if you want them, you can find them at the Indian grocery store in Vientiane. You can also get the spices for this recipe there. I got this Chana Masala recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

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Mango Shortcake with Ginger Whipped Cream

On Tuesday, we celebrated my friends Kim’s birthday by having a picnic under the stars by a pond on a moonless night with fireflies all around. It was beautiful! The hostess of the picnic asked me to bring any dessert except cake because Kim would have already eaten cake many times that day. I wanted to bring something special, so I decided on mango shortcake. The mangoes are delicious right now! Continue reading

The Once and Future Apple Cake

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The Once and Future Apple Cake is a cake with a story. It began with a little girl whose mother baked apple cakes, but then died when the girl was young. When the girl grew up, she searched and searched for an apple cake like her mother’s. Please read the story and recipe here. I can’t tell the story any better than it has already been told. Continue reading