Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cooking with GI. Dansk Mjød – Dessert Recipe

Recipe Pairing Flavors:
Delicately delicious sipping mead, with aromas and flavors of ginger blended seamlessly with honey, that concludes in a minutes long finish full of warming ginger, alcohol and hops.

Want the breakfast recipe?
Here’s a link back to the Ginger Mead Granola.

Want the entrée recipe?
Follow this link to the Meaded Pork with Gingered Nectarines.


Oats.  Toasty, nutty and once considered only feed for animals.

Salivating yet?  Well, I can assure you that not just horses, but people will come clamoring for these tasty, thin, ginger flavor packed morsels, drawn in by the aroma wafting from your oven.  But wait.  I'm getting a little ahead of myself, so hold on to that flavorful thought while I tell you about one of my recipe’s most essential ingredients:

Old-fashioned oats. 

That's right.  Old-fashioned.  And that means that you'll need to get the kind before digital, when analog ruled the waves and phones, if you had one, had to be hand cranked, like your car.

So now that we've got the timeframe set, let me tell you about the other types, since it's important to strictly go Old-Fashioned with these ginger mead flavored treats.

Oats, first of all, are a hardy, nutrient rich cereal grain that thrives where most other crops are unable to survive.  And that's why it was such an essential crop in places like Scotland, that are cold and rocky, with nutrient poor soils.

Raw, harvested oats can be used to feed animals, but to feed people, oats must be processed, at least to some extent. 

The very least processed type is called Whole Oat Groats, and results from harvesting, cleaning and toasting the oats, before removing their inedible husks.  And what's left behind after this minimal processing, are the whole grain kernels that are known as "groats."  With the longest cooking time of all the types (about 50 minutes), the resulting oats are extremely chewy, so, if that's not for you, just keep on reading.

With a bit more processing you get Steel Cut Oats, in which the groats are cut into two or three pieces with a sharp metal blade.  Because water more easily penetrates these smaller cut pieces, these oats, also known as Irish Oatmeal, cook up in about half the time, but are still fairly dense and chewy when ready to eat.

While the Scots, in Scotland, seemed to want a different experience, so they made their oatmeal without using a steel blade.  Creating bits of varying sizes by stone grinding the oats, their version, which some swear is a whole lot creamier, also goes by the name of Scottish Oatmeal.

And finally, we come ‘round to our Rolled Oats (also labeled Old-Fashioned), and they’re made by first steaming the oat groats before they’re rolled into flakes and dried.  This process not only makes them stay fresher longer by stabilizing the oat’s oils, but helps them cook up faster, since pressing them flat makes it easier for water to penetrate.

The last two varieties are modern, with speed on their mind, and designed to cook up in the shortest of time.  First are Quick-Cooking Oats and they're processed just like Old-Fashioned, except being cut up more finely before they're rolled out.  And finally, the speediest oat of all, called Instant, is ready in just about that and lives up to its name with the help of longer steaming.

So, when choosing the type of oats to make up that perfect cookie, here, as in many things in life, size does matter.  That is, unless you don't mind ending up with morsels full of uncooked bits.  So instead, follow what I like to call the Goldilocks Effect of cooking, by choosing an oat that's not too soft and yet not too firm.  And once you've got your Old-Fashioned lined up, give your raisins a good mead soaking and then you’ll be ready to really begin. 

Made with two types of sugar to give it a sweetness with a molasses edge, this moderately sweet cookie is chewy, crispy, nutty and toasty.  With chewy interiors and crispy edges, these cookies deliver intense bursts of ginger rounded out with the softness of oats.  Enhanced by the flavor of the GI. Dansk Mjød in both the dough and the raisins, these treats have a lovely lingering honeyed ginger aftertaste reminiscent of the mead.

So, move aside, horses.  All this description is making me hungry for another batch.  And if you'd like one too, I'll help you get started -


Makes about 3 dozen

½ cup black raisins
¼ cup GI. Dansk Mjød (ginger mead)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
¾ cup white sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tablespoons GI. Dansk Mjød (ginger mead)

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ginger (peeled and finely chopped)

2½ cups old-fashioned oats

Macerate the raisins in the ¼ cup of mead for several hours hours or overnight.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, white sugar and dark brown sugar with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer on low speed, then add the vanilla, egg and mead.

In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and chopped ginger, before slowly adding it to the butter mixture.

Pour in the oats, then add the raisins and their liquid (if any), mixing well to incorporate.

Set the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350°F.
To prepare the cookies, use 1 heaping tablespoon of dough per cookie, allowing 12 per pan using 2 large 12 x 17 sheet pans.

Once the dough has been placed, press each cookie down to a thin layer with a water moistened finger.  Bake for 15 – 16 minutes, rotating the pan midway through baking to ensure even cooking. 

Leave the cookies on the hot pan for 15 minutes to crisp up before transferring them to a rack to cool fully.  And while they crisp, slide the 2nd sheet pan of cookies into the oven to bake.

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