Monday, May 7, 2012

A Kitchen Interlude: Gingersnaps

Gingersnaps are one of my all time favorite cookies for a whole bunch of reasons.  They work in all seasons; their cinnamon-ginger-molasses goodness tastes just as delicious at a summer tea with lemonade as it does with hot cider at cool autumn picnic or chilly winter cookie swap.  When they're just right, they are simultaneously soft, chewy, and crisp.  I also love gingersnaps because, like many of my best cookie recipes, I learned to make them with my dad--a master cookie baker.  Recently, my gingersnaps had not been up to snuff.  They were too flat or too hard and they simply could not compare to my dad's perfect batch of fluffy and chewy cookies I munched on over the winter holiday.  But, at last, after consultation with the cookie master himself, I finally sorted out the correct flour amount and crafted the most gorgeous gingersnaps.

For a BIG batch of several dozen cookies:

3 sticks of butter (softened to room temperature)
2 cups sugar ( + 1/2 cup for coating cookies)
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. cloves
4 tsp. baking soda
4 3/4 cups flour

1.) Blend together butter, sugar, and molasses with an electric mixer (or if you're so lucky to possess one, a standing mixer) until fluffy and fully mixed.
2.) Add eggs and blend in.
3.) Add and blend together cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
4.) Add and blend in baking soda.
5.) Gradually add in the flour, pouring in a 1/2 cup to a whole cup at a time and mixing between additions.
6.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or transfer the dough to a plastic bag.  Place the covered dough in the fridge to chill for a few hours.
7.) When you're ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
8.) Cover your trays with parchment paper.
9.) Form dough into balls and roll them in sugar until fully coated.
10.) Arrange the balls of dough on the trays in rows, usually about a dozen per tray.
11.) Bake the cookies until they puff up and become mostly solid but do not get too dark on the bottom. Take them out and let them cool on a cooling rack before storing them.

These can be frozen for weeks or months or stored in covered containers at room temperature for a week or so--if they last that long!