Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Note: We preferred using salted cashews. Bourbon can be substituted for whiskey. Crystallized ginger is found in the baking aisle. Our 2019 winning recipe is from Janet Heirigs of Minneapolis.
• 2 1/2 c. flour
• 2 tsp. ground ginger
• 2 tsp. baking soda
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 c. packed dark brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 2 tbsp. whiskey (see Note)
• 1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger root
• 2/3 c. minced crystallized ginger (about 3 oz.), divided (see Note)
For ginger-sugar mixture:
• 1 tsp. ground ginger
• 1/2 c. granulated sugar
For whiskey glazed cashews:
• 1 tsp. maple syrup
• 1/2 tsp. whiskey
• 1 tsp. of ginger-sugar mixture
• Pinch of kosher salt
• 3/4 c. whole cashews, unsalted or salted (see Note)
• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 2 tbsp. cream cheese, at room temperature
• 1 tsp. ground ginger
• 1 1/2 tsp. whiskey
• 2 c. powdered sugar
• 3 to 6 tsp. half-and-half or milk
To prepare dough: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and reserve.
In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat 3/4 cup butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, 2 tablespoons whiskey and grated ginger root and mix until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture, mixing until well blended. Stir in 1/3 cup crystallized ginger. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or overnight.
To prepare ginger-sugar mixture: In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon ground ginger and granulated sugar, reserving 1 teaspoon for glazing cashews.
To prepare whiskey glazed cashews: Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon whiskey, 1 teaspoon ginger-sugar mixture and kosher salt. Toss cashews in whiskey mixture until well coated. Spread cashews on prepared baking sheet and bake until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Chop cashews into small pieces and reserve.
To prepare cookies: When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Dip the top half of each ball into ginger-sugar mixture and place dough 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until edges are lightly brown and tops are lightly cracked, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
To prepare icing: In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat 1 tablespoon butter, cream cheese, 1 teaspoon ground ginger and 1 1/2 teaspoons whiskey until creamy. Reduce speed to low and slowly add powdered sugar. Add half-and-half (or milk), 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach desired consistency.
To assemble cookies: In a small bowl, stir together remaining 1/3 cup crystallized ginger with chopped whiskey glazed cashews.
Spread icing on top of each cookie, then sprinkle crystallized ginger-whiskey glazed cashews mixture over the icing. Allow icing to set before serving.