Monday, December 10, 2007

A Lesson In Leavening

You would think that the candy failure would have taught me a lesson. Yet here I was trying to do too much at once, and then Andy mentioned gingersnaps. I had forgotten to add them to my list of cookies to make, and once he mentioned them, I had to make them. I dug out the recipe for Ginger Spice Cookies and looked it over. The only thing missing was the crystallized ginger. While that addition does create a spectacular ginger cookie, I was certain I could make them without- there were plenty of spices for the cookie to stand on it's own two feet. So I mixed up the dough and set it in the fridge to chill.

Then I was distracted for a short while before returning to bake my cookies. I rolled the first batch into small balls and rolled them in turbinado sugar. Twelve minutes later I popped open the oven door to pull them out, eager for my first glimpse of the sparkling spice cookies...wait, this isn't right. These haven't changed since I put them on the pan. $%^*#$ cookies. This is supposed to be fun, and first that awful candy and now this...Surely I'm missing something. I double check the recipe, making sure I wrote everything down, when one ingredient gives me pause. I don't remember adding that. And it calls for 2 teaspoons, surely I would remember dipping in the box twice.That has to be it. I forgot the leavening. I looked at the ball of dough, and looked at the box, and decided that it couldn't hurt to try and mix in some baking soda. It was either attempt to mix it in now, or throw out the whole batch of dough and be really mad at myself. I kneaded in the baking soda, let it sit for a few minutes and then tried again.
That's much better.

And lesson learned. Don't be distracted when making your Christmas treats, and definitely don't forget the leavening. Oh, and these are just fine without the crystallized ginger- they're still a delicious spicy cookie.

Ginger Spice Cookies (a.k.a. the best ginger cookies evah) adapted from

makes about 30 cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup crystallized ginger
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses

Turbinado sugar

Combine first 7 ingredients in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Chop the crystallized ginger finely; mix into dry ingredients. (To keep the ginger from clumping together, sprinkle pieces across the top of the flour mixture, then fold in.) With an electric mixer, beat brown sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add egg and molasses and beat until blended. Add flour mixture; stir just until blended. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter baking sheet. Pour turbinado sugar into a thick layer on a small plate. (Regular granulated sugar will work for this, too, though the larger crystals of the turbinado add an extra crunch to the cookie.) Using wet hands, form dough into 1 1/4-inch balls; roll in sugar to coat completely. Place dough balls on cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. (I made my balls more like 1-inch, and ended up with about 48 cookies.)

Bake cookies until tops are cracked but still soft to the touch, 11-12 minutes. Cool on sheets for a minute or two, then transfer to racks and cool. Store in airtight container to maintain outer shell’s crunch… if they last that long.


JEP said...

Ginger cookies are a MUST for me during the holidays! Love it when you share "real life" experiences that all of us do from time to time---ha!

Erika W. said...

Lol! Well, there's more coming!