12.16.09 I Love Shorty

Spicy shorties1 790 xxx
photo by george billard
Around the holidays, a frenzy of baking takes place. Everyone is spritzing out those German butter cookies, rolling Mexican wedding cookies, dipping things in chocolate and sticking on sprinkles. And god bless them. But ever since my holistic nutritionist Sally Kravich likened eating white flour to putting elementary-school paste up my butt, I've tried to drastically reduce the amount of traditional baked goods I eat. (And after that lovely analogy you may, too, right?) The refined sugar, the refined flour, the Crisco...it's just not doing me any favors. And because G cannot eat gluten, options diminish even further. But none of this means I'm going to give up the occasional indulgence. So when I feel like eating a cookie, I make these deliciously chewy, assertively spiced, buttery little oat cookies that pack a lot of flavor.

Inspired by Deborah Madison's Ginger Oat Shorties, my version is made with whole wheat pastry flour, dark muscovado sugar and also incorporates fresh ginger, cardamom and freshly ground pepper for a wonderful kick. The oats and crystallized ginger give them a pleasingly rough texture and the butter adds a smooth richness. In truth, you can make these using almost any flour or combinations thereof, incuding white, gluten-free, buckwheat, etc. If you're going to make cookies this holiday season, try these and your friends will be eternally grateful. (As will your colon.)

Spicy Shorties

makes about 2 dozen
  • — 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • — 1/2 pound salted butter (2 sticks)
  • — 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar (I like Muscovado)
  • — 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • — 1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
  • — 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • — 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • — 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
  • — 1 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Process the oats briefly in a food processor, just to break them up slightly.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the salt, spices and oats. Work in all the flour well, and mix in the fresh and crystallized ginger.

Press the dough into a 9x12 pan and score the surface in squares as you would with shortbread. (You can make any shape you like but these are rich, so smaller pieces are best.) Bake until surface is lightly browned, 30-35 minutes. Baking them longer will result in a drier, crisper cookie (which is also nice).

Remove and cut through along the score lines, then set aside to cool.

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Yum. Gluten-Free oats are available on line.
Dr.J on December 24, 2009 at 9:49 am —
Bob's Red Mill actually makes gluten-free oats, but this recipe still calls for whole wheat pastry flour. Maybe I'll try it with a gluten-free flour sometime and see what happens...
laura on December 24, 2009 at 12:13 pm —
I'm getting hungrier with every post! Your Blog is beautiful. Thanks for sharing your energy and ideas.
Suzinn on January 2, 2010 at 9:35 pm —
PS: You should come visit Portland OR. It's a foodie"s paradise and the "world headquarters" of Bob's Red Mill.
Suzinn on January 2, 2010 at 9:38 pm —
Had some of the sugar so decided to make these even though it's Spring. DIdn't have any cardamom on hard, so I used the same about of Allspice and 1/8 tsp of Cloves. The house smells amazing and these taste great. Cardamom is on the grocery list!
Robert on March 25, 2010 at 3:29 pm —
These are all-season goodness—but definitely try them with cardamom, it's one of my favorite spices and it goes so well with the ginger. Good for you, though, for making your own version!
laura on March 25, 2010 at 3:57 pm —
Laura, I made these chews, however with white flour, and they are the highlight of my this years holiday baking, and newly in the top 5 sweets, along with predictable classics like shortbread. Spicy Shorties are exotic, rich and sexy!
Roy on December 21, 2013 at 12:13 pm —
So glad, Roy! They really come out delicious no matter what flour you use.
laura on December 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm —