It is freezing cold in New England now. Perfect time for baking. Something that reminds me of the warm and fuzzy feeling which the weather outside has so successfully ripped me of. Plus, Valentine's Day is coming soon and I am preparing to send the picture montage for grandma down in Florida. *Lucky her*
In comes Ginger Snap cookies. I remembered baking them for the first time last Christmas. It was such a hit at home and with grandma that the right thing to do is to bake her a batch of these babies for Valentine's Day. Departing from the usual sugar-free cookies I bake for her, I find it unusually difficult to find a sugar-free recipe for Ginger Snap. Still in the research phase, let's hope that I will be able to come up with a recipe which produces sugar-free ginger snap as good as the real ones.
A few technique I adhere to when baking cookies. Firstly, measure all your dry ingredients in a bowl. Flour, baking soda, salt and spices
Secondly, cream your butter or any fat you are using well. It is extremely important that the fat is creamed perfectly till it is light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes with an electric mixer or hand mixer. If you are using a whisk, it may take a little longer but still doable.
Thirdly, measure your sugar well. Sugar is considered liquid in baking terms. White sugar can be measured in a cup, loosely, while brown sugar has to be packed into the cup to ensure accurate measurement.
Next, add in the sticky liquid, if using. Like molasses or honey, these liquid has a tendency to stick onto any measuring devices used, i.e. cup or spoon. The best way to go about it is to lightly spray a non-stick oil-based spray onto the cup or spoon before measuring out the sticky liquid. Alternately, pour a few drop of oil onto the cup or spoon and spread it with a paper towel or your fingers.
Next, add in your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients mix. I prefer to work in batches, usually three, to ensure even mixing.
Give this a try and let me know if you like it.
Ginger Snap Cookies
(From one of the trusted baking site, Joy of baking)
3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (105 grams) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) white granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) unsulphured molasses
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (260 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
1. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (about 2 - 3 minutes).
2. Add the molasses, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour,, salt, and spices.
3.Add to the butter mixture and mix until well combined. Cover and chill the batter for about 30 minutes or until firm.
4.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5.Place about 1 cup (200 grams) of white in a medium sized bowl.
6.When the dough has chilled sufficiently, roll into 1 inch (2.5 cm) balls. Then roll the balls of dough into the sugar, coating them thoroughly.
7.Place on the baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart and, with the bottom of a glass, flatten the cookies slightly.
8.Bake for about 12 - 15 minutes or until the cookies feel dry and firm on top. (The longer the cookies , the more crisp they will be.)
9. Cool on a wire rack.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies