Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Snappy Plate: The Ginger Kind

Two "smart eating" rules I think of often are: 1. Only eat sweets that you make, and 2. When you go out, always bring something to eat with you. These are perfectly sensible ideas. Sweets like candy are often harbingers of bad things, like unrecognizable variations of soy (lecithin?) or high fructose corn syrup. When you make treats, you probably won't use high fructose corn syrup mostly because you can't buy a jar of it at the store. You'll use an actual food like butter instead. To understand the second rule, imagine you're going out to the mall. It is quite likely that on your way in through Macy's, you will become temporarily blinded by perfume spritzes, make a wrong turn at the Forever 21, and wind up in the food court, dizzied by the scents of Chick-Fil-A and that Japanese stir-fry place.

With quick reflexes and a little bit of luck, you can whip out the snack you brought along and make an escape. This is why I do not go to the mall.

What, you might ask, is the point?  The point is this: Gingersnaps. I have a delicious recipe for these goodies that is fairly easy to follow and not terrible for your body (Rule #1). Dan and I gave them as a gift over the holidays after baking and eating an entire test batch, and they received rave reviews. Ladies, gingersnaps are easy to put into your purse to sneak into the mall, movies, or Broadway musical productions (Rule #2). If I were giving dating advice, I would mention that women who offer homemade cookies at just the right moment make men swoon. I would also mention that most men aren't worth the trouble. Choose your cookie offerees carefully.

The recipe is inspired by the Joy of Baking version with some modifications.

Ingredients (Makes 4 Dozen Cookies)
3/4 cup unsalted butter (if you use salted, omit the salt later in the recipe)
1/2 cup muscovado sugar
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups white whole wheat flour, King Arthur is a good brand
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 extra cup natural cane sugar

Put the butter and sugars into a mixing bowl and beat with your electric/hand mixer until they are light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the molasses, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add this to the butter mixture and mix until well combined. Cover and chill the batter for about 30 minutes until it's a little bit firm. I sometimes let it chill overnight if I don't have enough time in the same day; if you do this, just be sure to let the dough set out and soften some before baking.

Warning: If you are someone who likes to eat raw cookie dough, as I do, you are going to want to eat this. You are not going to want to make ANY cookies out of it. Remember though, that not only does this defeat the purpose of Rule #2, but if you sit and eat a bowl of dough which would normally produce 4 dozen cookies, you won't feel very good. I try to limit my dough-eating to the equivalent of 6 cookies. End Warning.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the reserved 1 cup of natural cane sugar in a small bowl. When the dough is properly chilly, roll it into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball of dough into the sugar, coating thoroughly. Place them onto a baking sheet spaced about 2 inches apart. Press the bottom of a glass onto each dough ball to flatten it slightly. They might stick a bit, but just peel the cookies off and return them to their baking sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. The longer you bake them, the crunchier they will be. I usually bake them between 12-13 minutes and once they cool they are always properly crisp. They should feel dry and firm on top when you take them out of the oven. Cool them on a wire rack.

Shared on: Food Renegade and Real Food Whole Health

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