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Friday Cookies: Ginger-not-so-snaps (or, my first time with molasses)

December 15, 2006

gingersnaps 

When I first set myself to the cookie challenge, I knew eventually I would come across a cookie I was a little less than fond of. And this morning, there it was: the gingersnap. This is a least-favored nation kind of cookie. I have never liked gingersnaps. I kind of, actually, hate them.

But in my own twisted inclination to stick to arbitrary rules, and in the recognition that other people do, in fact, like these cookies, and that in this season of giving I could probably always give them away, I figured what the hell. Gingersnaps here I come.

Thankfully, Slashfood gives two recipes, a snappy version and a not-so-snappy version. I always favor chewy cookies, which might be part of the reason I never liked the snaps, so there was no question which version I was going to make.

Alas–this recipe was one that called for me to leave the house! I mean, who the hell has molasses around? Because I also needed to buy some kind of crazy fancy hot chocolate as a christmas gift, I decided to go to the Whole Foods near Symphony Hall. I’d never actually been there before, despite the fact that I pretty much work in the neighborhood. I’ve never been a huge fan of Whole Foods, since the grocery store across the street rips me off enough, already, but the grocery store across the street didn’t have sufficiently fancy hot chocolate, so Whole Foods it was. (I also got some stinky raw milk gruyere, for a gratin which you may see up here in short order. Mmm. Cheese.)

So here I am, back at home with molasses in hand, ready to make some cookies that I don’t like. And a little bit hoping that maybe, without the rock hard crunch, I might like these gingersnaps a little better. I changed up the recipe a little bit–you can find the original at Good Housekeeping.

Gingersnaps that are not so snappy

  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour (that is all I had, otherwise I would have used an even amount, as the recipe called for)
  • 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 dash of ground nutmeg (this isn’t in the original recipe, and I’m not sure why I decided to add it)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 6 T. butter, softened (I only had unsalted, so I really hope they turn out ok)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. molasses
  • About 1/4 c. of some kind of topping (I used almonds)

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.

In a larger bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar. Once again, no electric mixer meant creaming by hand, but I let the butter get much softer this time, and it was wayyy easier. Or maybe I somehow just got super stronger over the last week. The butter mixing last week might have had a hand in my amazing increase in muscle power. Or, yeah, I just let the butter get softer. Add in the egg and vanilla extract, and beat together until it’s all well incorporated. Then, slowly add the molasses, stirring as you add it in. This wasn’t specified in the recipe, but it seemed easier to do it this way.

By the way, I’m pretty sure the molasses is the reason I’m not a ginersnap fan. As soon as I smelled it, I knew. Does anyone know of any alternate recipes that call for something else? Maple syrup, maybe? And, um, does anyone know what the hell to do with all the freakin’ molasses I now have in my cupboard?

Alright, back to cookies: Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, again, in three or four batches. You want to mix it until the dough just comes together, and the flour is well mixed in, and the whole thing is a very appetizing brown clump. Mmm. Cover the brown clump with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for an hour. Then go have a hot toddy.

After the dough is sufficiently chilled, preheat the oven to 350F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. (Parchment paper is my new favorite baking tool–anything that prevent me from having to wash baking sheets is a friend.)

Form the cookie dough into 1-inch balls, dip them in your topping of choice, and place them on the baking sheet about an inch apart. Slashfood recommends course sugar as the topping, but I didn’t have that, and decided to use chopped almonds instead, unsalted, dry roasted. Maybe the fact that I don’t think I’ll be eating them is allowing me to take more liberties than I otherwise would with these poor cookies. I even thought it might be tasty to use almond extract instead of vanilla, but that alteration might have to be saved for another time. Or rather, another person, because I can’t imagine I will be making gingersnaps again.

(Man, I am disparaging these cookies and I haven’t even tasted one yet.)

The dough will be stiff and sticky, so you might need to wash your hands a few times in the midst of the process, as it gets harder to form them into balls when they’re just sticking to your hands.

Bake them for about 9-11 minutes, until the edges are set, and the tops look a little cracked. They will still be kind of soft and seemingly undercooked, and apparently, that is ok. Let them cool off before you shove them in your face.

PS–For gingersnaps, these actually aren’t so bad. In fact, they’re almost…good?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Angela permalink
    August 26, 2009 1:27 pm

    I thought your comment about molasses was a bit funny. I don’t think ginersnaps would be right without molasses. I am curious what kind of molasses you bouth though as there are several different kinds. Fancy molasses are the sweetest and are not so “harsh” tasting. I always use black strap and put them in bread, cookies, muffins…everything! If you didn’t already I recommend trying this reciepe with fancy and see if you like them more.

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