“Dessert is like a feel-good song, and the best ones make you dance.”
Imagine a perfect winter night: the family gathered by the fireplace after a delicious dinner, watching the snowflakes dance outside the window. All that is missing is a perfect dessert to complete the picture. When thinking of “cozy” and “wintry” delights, ginger naturally comes to mind.
There’s something about its spicy, warming flavor that makes it perfect for cold winter days. Combined with cinnamon, apple, maple, pumpkin, and other favorite wintry flavors, this condiment produces the dreamiest desserts you just have to try this winter.
Health Benefits of Ginger
The warm wintry taste is not the only reason we love ginger. We also adore it for its healthiness, and this adoration has been constant for over 4000 years. The secret ingredient that makes ginger so beneficial is gingerol that acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
Scientists recommend using ginger on a regular basis to prevent and treat numerous diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. What’s more, ginger can facilitate weight loss!
How to Use Ginger
Ginger can be found raw, as an essential oil, and as a powder. When it comes to desserts, you can choose the most potent form of ginger, the ginger essential oil, which contains the highest levels of gingerol. In that case, bear in mind that this oil is very concentrated and strong in taste, and measure the amount you add in drops. Two or three drops should suffice.
However, the best and easiest way to enrich your desserts with ginger is by using its powdery form. For best taste and maximum health benefits use organic ginger.
Warm and Cozy Ginger Dessert Recipes
Ginger and Fruits
When it comes to fruits, ginger combines best with the most season-appropriate fruits: apple, pear, and pumpkin.
Crisps, cobblers, and crumbles, so simple and so rich at the same time. If you are not a cake person, this is bound to become your favorite wintry dessert. The best part is that it can pass as a breakfast as well!
Crystallized ginger (also called candied ginger) is a delicious snack on its own, but also an ingredient that will contribute crunchiness to your desserts. It blends the best of two worlds – the sweet taste of candy with the health benefits of ginger. You can freeze it and have it at hand for months if you prepare a large batch at home.
Besides apples, pears, and crystallized ginger, the filling used for this recipe also includes cinnamon and lemon juice, whereas the crumble topping is based on old-fashioned oats.
Fall and winter cannot be imagined without America’s favorite crop, the almighty pumpkin. This versatile fruit is an integral part of our Thanksgiving and Christmas festive tables, but also a part of our culture, from Halloween symbolism to Pumpkin Chunking.
To take the most advantage of this nutritious and delicious ingredient, use fresh homemade pumpkin puree instead of the canned version whenever you can. Another trick is to reduce the liquid in the pumpkin puree by wrapping it in paper towels to remove the excess moistness. This will result in ideally creamy texture instead of a runny one.
This soft and melty recipe combines a perfectly spiced pumpkin flavor (with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves), rich creamy cheesecake, and crunchy brûléed sugar crust based on graham crackers.
The process of brûléeing is the simplest if you have a culinary torch in your kitchen. This is a highly useful tool that can also be used for torching meringue or scorching marshmallows (described below). If you don’t own one, you can also use a double boiler.
Ginger and Vegetables
Ginger creates wonderful fusions with carrot and sweet potato in desserts.
The base of a basic sweet potato puree is boiled sweet potatoes, butter, and maple syrup. This recipe makes most of this simple side-dish by enriching it with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. You can add a little bourbon or rum for extra flavoring. If you are concerned about the alcohol inside these muffins, you can rest assured that most of it will evaporate during baking and your kids can eat as many muffins as they like. However, make sure you limit the amount to a maximum of a ¼ cup.
As for the marshmallow frosting, you can use store-bought marshmallows or prepare the frosting yourself and apply it on top of each muffin with a piping bag. The culinary torch is being used once again to scorch the tops until golden brown.
Ginger and Chocolate
If you can’t decide whether ginger pairs better with white or brown chocolate, the solution is to use them all in one recipe.
This recipe proves that even the plainest-looking ginger cookies can be transformed into a magical treat by simply dipping them into melted chocolate and garnishing them with nuts. But not just any nuts. Pistachios are the best choice because of the green-yellow-brown color combination that stands out when applied both on white and brown chocolate.
Originally, this recipe makes use of a white chocolate dip, made by melting white chocolate chips with some coconut oil over low heat. This only takes a few minutes, so you can prepare a second dip using the same method, only with dark chocolate chips. Wait for the chocolate to set before you eat them!
Ginger and Nuts
All types of nuts pair beautifully with ginger, from the above mentioned pistachios to walnuts and almonds, but somehow pecans manage to push their way into most of the ginger-nut recipes.
Photo credit: http://lifemadesweeter.com/2016/12/turtle-thumbprint-cookies/
Another take on ginger cookies, this one even more lavish that the previous one. The Pecan Turtle Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies are the best-looking addition to your holiday cookie tray. The soft and buttery shortbread base, made with only 6 basic ingredients (including cornstarch to prevent the dough from spreading), is followed by a layer of melted caramel candies mixed with heavy cream, and topped with crunchy pecans, plus a drizzle of melted chocolate and melted caramel sauce!
Prepare your cameras; these cookies are so cute, you’ll want to post them on your Instagram!
Healthy Ginger Desserts
For those who count calories and restrain themselves from sugary delights, as well as for those who need something lighter after over-the-top feasts, there is a wide range of ginger desserts that are light and low in calories. But even though you will see words like paleo, vegan, and gluten-free, have no doubt, their deliciousness remains intact!
This richly ginger-spiced stack is low in calories and packed with proteins (one pancake has about 70 calories and 4g. protein). The protein content comes mainly from the vanilla protein powder used to prepare the batter base, together with whole wheat.
The reason why “buttermilk” is enclosed in a quotation mark is that the recipe uses fake buttermilk, made by adding apple cider vinegar to a glass of vanilla soy milk. The buttermilk prepared in this manner is responsible for the fluffiness in these pancakes, but with a lower count of calories.
These golden disks are sweetened with pure maple syrup and use vegan eggs made with flaxseed and water.
This custard is the answer to the question: “How to enjoy a creamy dessert guilt-free?”
The Caveman diet, as this diet is also known, is based on ingredients that were available to the humans in the Paleolithic age; namely fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. The forbidden list of foods includes dairy, grains, processed food, sugars, legumes, starches, and alcohol.
The coconut flavor comes from the coconut milk, sweetened with honey and spiced with chai spice. Chai spice is a mixture that includes ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, clove, white pepper, and anise. The combination of coconut and chai infuses this dessert with a typically Indian flavor.
To avoid ending up with an eggy-textured cream, prepare the custard using the old-school technique: cook slowly in a water bath.
The American staple with a healthy twist. Creamy, velvety smooth, and incredibly rich in spices (gingery, with a touch of clove and nutmeg); you’d never guess that this dessert is not bad for you.
This pumpkin pie is perfect for people who suffer from celiac disease or any other type of gluten sensitivity. The best part? You can throw the ingredients together in only 10 minutes and let the oven do the rest of the job!
Christmas Ginger Desserts
No sweet treat symbolizes the winter holidays like gingerbread in its many forms, from gingerbread men to edible houses.
Gingerbread has been around for thousands of years, since the times of the ancient Greeks. it was introduced in Europe in the 10th century, but it wasn’t until the 17th century that it became associated with Christmas. The preparation of gingerbread was considered a sacred ritual because it was used to create images of saints and other religious characters by using special molds. Only specialized guilds were permitted to make gingerbread during the year, except for Christmas and Easter, when regular people could make gingerbread on their own.
Two traditional Christmas foods, chocolate fudge and gingerbread, blend in one festive recipe. instead of the standard recipe, this one combines molasses, brown sugar, evaporated milk, spices (ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice) and white chocolate chips, melted together to produce a softer fudge that tastes like gingerbread cookie dough. Or even better! Cut into squares and cover with red, green, and white sprinkles to capture the festive spirit!
“He is rich, he is sweet, and if he misbehaves you can bite his head off!”
Use the traditional gingerbread recipe and cookie cutters to make gingerbread men (and women, of course). To decorate them quickly and with minimum mess, prepare (or buy) Royal icing and place it in a piping bag. Apply along every figure’s edges and use it to draw tiny ribbons, dresses, and necklaces on the women, as well as pants and bow-ties for the men. Use colorful M&M’s as buttons and eyes.
Have a sweet and snowy winter!
(Are you more of a savory type of person? Check out “5 Warm Winter Recipes with french Goat Cheese”.