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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ginger Crunch (a.k.a. Ginger Crack)

I spent one day in Anchorage last week catching up with the Alaska Food Community. It was a great day that included discussions on photography, writing, and travel. We also ate a lot of great food. Laurie Constantino kindly opened up her home to the group. It felt like I had known Laurie forever, but in fact this was the first time we had every met in person. The group barely had enough time to introduce ourselves and have dinner before Maya and I had to catch flights back to our respective homes. I wish I would have had more time to stay and chat. We are working toward meeting up again soon. We have started a Google+ community called Alaska Food Community, please come join us if you live in Alaska and would like to be part of the group. It is a great place for food writers, photographers, bloggers, and other media to gather and work together.
I made a batch (or two) of these ginger crunch bars to bring to the gathering. I actually call them "Ginger Crack" because it is pretty much impossible to stop eating them once you have started. I have made three batches since I first found the recipe only two weeks ago. I have found that the salt is essential in bringing out the flavor of the ginger in these bars, so if you don't have salted butter, make sure you add 1/2 teaspoon to the shortbread base. These bars are great for any ginger lover and go best with a nice hot cup of coffee.

Ginger Crunch (a.k.a. Ginger Crack)
adapted from David Lebovitz

Shortbread Crust
4 1/2 ounces (9 tablespoons) salted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground dried ginger

Ginger Icing
2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons) salted butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup *see note below
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon ground dried ginger

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Spary with non-stick cooking spray or butter a 11x7 or 13x4 -inch rectangular tart pan or another similarly sized pan. If using a pan without a removable bottom,line baking pan with parchment paper and allow it to hang a bit over the edges to easily remove the bars from the pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment cream the butter with the sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger.

Mix the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture until well-combined. Turn the dough out into the tart pan and press the dough firmly and evenly into the pan. You will want the dough to be flat and even. The dough will initially be very crumbly. If using a scallop edged tart pan, you will need to make sure you get the dough into all the little spaces along the edge.

Place the tart pan on a baking sheet to prevent the bottom of the crust from burning. Bake the dough for 20 minutes, until it’s light golden brown.

Five minutes before the crust is done, make the icing by heating the 5 tablespoons of butter and golden syrup in a small pan, when the butter has melted mix in the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon ginger, stirring until smooth.

Pour the warm icing over the cookie base as soon as you remove it from the oven. Let sit for about 20 to 30 minutes until the icing has set up, then remove from the pan and slice while still slightly warm. If you wait until they are completely cooled it will be very difficult to cut them without crumbling.

*Golden Syrup is becoming more common in the United States. You can find it at most higher end grocery or specialty stores. It can also be ordered online from King Arthur Flour. If you live in Anchorage, Alaska or visit regularly you can find it at New Sagaya.


  1. I wish I had sought these out while at the party last week! Maybe Laurie still has some left? I doubt it? I'm heading to Sagaya to pick up some golden syrup so I can try these!

  2. The ginger bars look scrumptious and I'm looking forward to making them! Do you need to have a food blog or plan on having one? I have a food business but not a blog...would I still be welcome to join the Alaska Food Community?


    1. Michelle,
      You definitely do not need to have a food blog to join the community. We would prefer that the people who join are in Alaska and are interested in being an active part of the group, whether that is in an active or supporting role. The group is primarily food writers, or those with an interest in some sort of food writing. Many people in the group also have questions about photography as well. I would say anyone involved with food and media is welcome, that would include business sponsors. Thank you for your interest.

  3. The ginger bars look great. I will definitely have to try them. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I made these Ginger bars today and can see why you call them "Ginger Crack"! They are awesome. I love ginger and was lucky that I had a jar of Golden Syrup in my house. I used a 13 x 4 pan and they baked nicely. Thanks for sharing a great recipe.

    1. I first found this recipe around midnight Alaska time and I had all the ingredients in my kitchen. I was very tempted to make them right then, but I waited until the next morning. I have some serious willpower. ;)

  5. I made these bars a couple weeks ago. I can't wait to make them again- they're delicious! I used a round 8" tart pan, and it worked great. I am officially an addict, thanks to you! :)

    1. Jenn-
      I'm so glad you made them. I won't even tell you how many I have made since I first found the recipe. They are so good with coffee in the morning. Each time I make them I keep telling myself that I can only have two each day so they last the week. Yeah, right!
      BTW...I'm out of Hi-Chews, those didn't last the 10 weeks I had planned either! Guess I'll just have to come back to Anchorage soon. (and no, please don't send me any!)


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