Friday, 5 February 2010

Gingersnaps and a new respect for composition

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I may not have a fancy camera, but I can at least move the cookies out of the kitchen and into the light!

When my boyfriend requested gingersnaps, I was hesitant.   They seemed like a lot of work, and while I've always liked them, they're not my favorite (and we end up with a LOT of cookies every time I bake, so I damn well better want to eat them).  Nonetheless, he does support my silly amateur baking endeavors with gusto, so I figured why not give the man what he wants, rather than just making him want what I give him (he's rarely complained, but still)?

So I pulled out my trusty Joy of Cooking and got cracking.  We bought dark treacle to replace the molasses:
See?  Composition.  Also, how British does that tin look?

...and I washed my pretty glass mixing bowls, and looked at the first instruction on the list:
Do you see a sifter?  'Cause I sure as hell don't.
Yes, that's right, whisk the dry ingredients.  None of this sifting bullhonky!  That's why I love Joy of Cooking, because it doesn't ask me to sift!  Irma must have known I would just ignore the instruction, and therefore she choose an easy compromise.  And I'm sure my cookies were the tastier for it.

Now, normally I hate to use two bowls instead of one (yes, I like shortcuts.  Haven't we established that already?), but in this instance I was already in a good mood from the whisking compromise and I happened to have new, managably-sized bowls (have I mentioned my new bowls?!), so I went with it:
FYI: This treacle stuff is a messy business.  Don't let the cute tin fool you.

But on the plus side, it's MUCH easier to cream butter and sugar by hand in a smaller bowl.

And by the time I reached the rolling-balls-and-baking stage I was pretty durn pleased with myself.  The process was much faster than I expected, and not too terrible to clean up either, with a little soaking.  And they baked into such little rounds of adorableness!  Rarely are my cookies this pretty!

After!!  CUTENESS.  They even got the cracked tops!  

And by the way, deliciousness too.  Mmmmm...

So in the end, my first attempt at gingersnaps was pretty much a raging success, which is awesome because I really needed that this week. 

When you don't have a cooling rack, a grill will do just fine.  Until the cookies fall through the slots...

And I worked a little harder at my photos, and I think they came out a lot better too.  Thoughts?

Can you tell I'm trying to copy the more successful food bloggers out there?

from Joy of Cooking

(Makes about 40 2 1/4 inch cookies)

For crunchy cookies, overbake slightly; for more tender ones, underbake by a minute or two.

Preheat oven to 350F (175C).  Grease or line 2 cookie sheets (I used nonstick, without any grease, and they were fine, but better safe than sorry unless you're reckless like me!).

Whisk together:

     1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
     3/4 tsp baking powder
     1/4 tsp baking soda
     pinch of salt
     2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
     1 tsp ground cinnamon
     1/8 tsp ground cloves

Beat in a large bowl until very fluffy:

     6 Tbsp (85 g) unsalted butter, softened
     3/4 cup sugar

Add and beat until well combined:

     1 large egg
     1/4 cup dark molasses (or black treacle)
     1/4 tsp finely grated lemon or orange zest (I used lemon)
     1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Stir in the flour mixture until blended.  Form the dough into 3/4 inch balls and arrange about 1 1/2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.  Bake, 1 sheet at a time, about 12 minutes.  The cookies will flatten and develop a crinkled surface as they bake.  Let stand briefly, then remove to a rack to cool.

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