Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Big, Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies

Big, Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies
Home Cooking

I have a goal. The rush I got from making the melting moments was so amazing that I feel like I've gotten a new purpose in life. The cooking spark has been reignited. I will now endeavour to cook/bake at least one new thing every Wednesday (my day off). Rather than slothing around in bed watching TV shows end to end (I finished season 5 of Mad Men in one and a half days, having exhausted seasons 1 to 4 of True Blood the previous week), this forces me to get up and be productive. My other day off goal is painting so I figured if I do a bit of cooking and painting and a bit of cleaning, I can feel good about the way I spend my time rather than guilt over my body going into atrophy.

I actually baked these cookies the same day as the melting moments, in this big whirlwind cooking frenzy where I had a production line of cookie sheets going and out and the stand mixer barely got time to dry after being washed before having to be used again. It was great fun! I can't wait to do the same next week; in fact, I've got a list of recipes under contention.

Back to the ginger cookies. These are interesting because they're not something I would normally bake. As a child, I hated anything ginger-flavored. Now, my taste buds have evolved or rearranged or whatever... and many things that I used to hate really appeal to me now. Despite that, my brain hasn't caught up yet, so when I think 'ginger cookies', I automatically think 'uck' before trying it and realizing I like it.

Gingerbread was a specific request from Marc.  Prior to that, I had associated it with old people and... I don't know, American kids and Christmas trees. Don't ask. Anyway, I Googled for a suitable recipe. I didn't think these were 'technically' classed as gingerbread but Wiki just told me that gingerbread can be anything sweet with a ginger flavor, including loaves, biscuits and cookies. So I guess I filled the brief!

The recipe I used was from Allrecipes.com and I went with this one because it's got over 3000 reviews and sitting at 4.5 stars. I tried to follow the recipe almost exactly but I didn't have molasses so I used golden syrup instead. I believe that molasses gives it a deeper, richer flavor but I just couldn't find it. I also used all-spice instead of ground cloves and butter instead of margarine.

Big, Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies
Makes 24

  • 2 and 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves (I used all-spice)
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (185g) margarine, softened (I used butter; I think butter is always better for these things)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup molasses (I used golden syrup)
  • 2 tbsp white sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
2. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt.
3. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine/butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses.
5. Gradually stir the sifted dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix to form a dough.
6. Shape the dough into walnut-sized balls (about 1 tablespoon each) and roll each ball through the remaining 2 tablespoons of white sugar to coat.
7. Place the balls onto the trays about 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly with a fork or the back of a spoon.
8. Bake for 10min in the preheated oven or until golden brown.
9. Cool in the trays for 5min before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies were so easy to make. Despite the fact that I'm not a huge fan of ginger, these were fairly mild (they can be spiced up with the addition of chopped candied ginger) and I really liked the soft, chewy texture.

The cookies are extra soft fresh out of the oven and they firm up a bit as they cool down. Rest assured though, they stay nice and chewy. Marc said they were good, but he has no other choic. My workmates devoured a whole bunch when I served them up so that was a fair amount of less-biased reassurance.

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