Friday, 25 November 2011

Chewy gingersnaps


Baking sweets is definitely my cooking kryptonite. In other words, I generally suck at baking things like cookies, cakes and related desserts. This, and the fact that I crave salty and crunchy snacks over sweet treats, is why you will find very few dessert recipes among these pages. However, I am not a complete alien and do of course yearn for the occasional sugar shot. I love super sweet cupcakes loaded with icing. I can and will eat an entire box of them given the right circumstance (alone, in my home, on a Friday night, after a long week).

I happened upon a hand wrapped and bow tied packet of ginger snap cookies in the store the other day. I tentatively placed the satchel inside my basket and then looked at the price. Then my mind wandered to the unopened bottle of organic molasses in my cupboard at home. I can make these myself, I thought. And I did.

I found this recipe while scrolling through pages of google images - my favorite way to locate recipes. The images of these cookies looked too good to be true; puffy, deep brown and with crackled edges. There is no way that is happening in my kitchen, I thought. I was wrong. The recipe was simple and my cookies emerged miraculously perfect from my oven. Correction, the second batch emerged perfect from my oven. The first batch was slightly overcooked but still edible. Apparently this is a Cook's Illustrated tested recipe so someone put a lot of effort into perfecting it. And they did a great job. These turned out chewy, not too sweet and just plain yummy. I have eaten more than I have fingers - in two days. Another reason I don't bake sweets...


Chewy ginger snaps
Makes approximately 30 cookies 

The differences between my recipe and the recipe I adapted this from is first, that I had salted butter on hand so did not add extra salt. Second, I did not have dark brown sugar or cloves on hand so I used light brown sugar and upped the amount of allspice. I always find that the recipes I make using organic ingredients turn out better, especially when it comes to flour, which is why I have it pointed out here but of course it is not required.

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups organic all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsulphered organic molasses

Directions
1 - Preheat oven to 375F with stone set in middle of oven.
2 - Sift or mix together flour through to allspice in one large bowl. 
3 - In another bowl, beat together the butter through to the molasses (I did this quite quickly, mixing less than 5 minutes using just a spoon).
4 - Mix together the wet and dry ingredients, starting with just a little bit at a time (I added the wet slowly to the dry). 
5 - Once roughly mixed, use your hands to bring the dough together into a mass that is somewhat the texture of play-dough.
6 - Generously flour a baking sheet and scoop rounded tablespoons of dough into your hand. Roughly form a ball and set balls on baking sheet about 2" apart.
7 - Place baking sheet in oven on stone and cook cookies for 8 minutes. They should be soft and chewy when cool. (Mine were still chewy the next day!)
Note: if you are unsure of the time or temperature of your oven I would suggest cooking a test batch of just a couple of cookies. My first batch cooked for about 12 minutes and the resulting cookies were slightly burnt and dry.
8 - I ate a cookie immediately after they were done cooking but you should probably let them cool first...
9 - Sprinkle with powdered sugar (I used a strainer, added in a scoop of powdered sugar and banged the side of it to evenly sprinkle the cookies)



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