Saturday, December 17, 2005

Gingersnaps with Crystallized Ginger

This is another recipe from Real Simple, actually from the same article that I found the PB&J Crunch Cookies I made recently. One look at the ingredient list had me sold on these, though the picture certainly didn't hurt. These cookies are jammed with a whole variety of spices, making them one of the more interesting ginger cookies I've had.
Most thick cookies than claim to be snappy actually turn out to be harder than rocks. So I was very plesantly suprised to find that they actually turned out to be quite crisp, without being hard. The day they were made, they were positively crunchy! After the first day, they did lose a little bit of the crunch, as so many cookies do, but the spices came forward just a bit more. The spicing is truely an excellent combination; the balance and blend of the spices is just right. Don't be tempted so substitute some of the plain sugar for brown sugar in this recipe, as it will cause the cookies to loose some of their crunch.
The recipe originally called for forming the dough into logs, then chilling and slicing them. After trying both sliced and dropped cookies, I decided to simply form the dough into balls. The non-sliced cookies had a prettier final appearance and, though the sliced ones remained a bit crunchier even days later, I prefered the texture of the hand-formed cookies. Refrigerating the dough in its bowl for about 30 minutes gives it a chance to rest and evenly distribute the moisture, making it easier to form into balls.

Gingersnaps with Crystallized Ginger
4 1/4 cups ap flour
1 tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, plus more for coating
2 large eggs
1/2 cup molasses
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and black pepper.
In another large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs in one by one, followed by molasses, balsamic vinegar and vanilla. Either by hand or with the mixer on low speed, gradually stir in all the flour, adding the minced ginger with the last addition. Stir until all flour is combined.
Form dough into 1- 1 1/2 inch balls, roll in extra sugar and place on baking sheet. Press cookies to flatten slightly and bake for 10-12 minutes at 375, until browned around the edges.
Makes 5 dozen.