Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Dinner: Part 3 Dessert

Last but not least... ginger cookies (and a surprise bonus recipe)! I spent all morning slaving away in my kitchen to successfully make...dun dun duuuun...15 cookies. This little recipe was a tricky one.

The biggest lesson I learned is that I have decided that I am not going to bake any more (aside from bread and my banana bread which I will impress you with soon). For whatever reason, it stresses me out. I am ALWAYS self conscious about how it will turn out (which is usually pretty good) and worried about whether I am cooking it for the right amount of time. Most importantly, I don't enjoy it. I could cook for days and days and days and I love it. Baking on the other hand just doesn't satisfy me.

I had a conversation with my sister about all things baking on the way into the office today, and we decided that she would contribute the baked goods to my blog. She loves it, and wants a new hobby so, shortly after the holidays I will be introducing her to you, and passing the baked-goods-baton on to her.

Ok, back to ginger cookies. The recipe is pretty straight forward and I will teach you my simple tricks so they don't burn, or expand into one another making a giant cookie sheet.

  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 sticks organic butter
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 farm egg
  • 1/2 c. molasses (robust or blackstrap)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Grease cookie sheets with butter, or lay parchment paper down.
  3. Mix dry ingredients in bowl.
  4. In Kitchenaid (or use hand mixer), add in butter and brown sugar. Beat on med/high for 3 minutes. 
  5. Add in remainder of wet ingredients. Mix well.
  6. Add in dry ingredients.
  7. Make balls and coat with raw sugar. 
  8. Space balls 1 1/2" apart on cookie sheets. 
  9. Cook for 10 minutes, check centers. If necessary cook for additional 2 minute increments until done. Should not take more than 16 minutes.
TRICK: Use teaspoon to make balls- they should be about the size of a big cherry. The batter should be sticky when making these balls, and they will flatten out while cooking BIG TIME! Also, if your oven heats from the bottom, move the racks in your oven as high as they can go with enough room to put the cookie sheets in (so the bottoms don't burn). If it heats from the top, put the racks at the bottom.

dry ingredients
butter and brown sugar

I made my ballz about double the size I would recommend

see? they ended up mushing together
The reason I only got 15 cookies was because A. I made the ballz too big, B. I burned an entire sheet of cookies (the one that was on the bottom rack was too close to the heat), C. the cookies were so big that they broke apart. 
they sure did photograph well though!
BONUS! My mom gave us her shortbread recipe a few weeks ago and since it was so simple I decided to out do myself and make it this morning. If you bring this to any dinner party/holiday, people will LOVE it. I promise. 
  • 2 sticks organic butter (room temp)
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 egg
  • a little milk (organic)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In Kitchaid or Cuisinart, put in all ingredients. Use dough hook on Kitchenaid or dough blade in Cuisinart. 
  3. Dough should be very sticky.
  4. Press into heavily greased mold. (I used a tart pan w/ a removable bottom)
  5. Bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Let cool for 5 minutes and then score top into wedges. Once the top is scored, go around a second time and cut all the way through. 
  7. Let cool until you are able to handle the pan without oven mitts. Carefully remove the side of the tart pan.
  8. Let cool completely, plate, and wrap in saran wrap until time to serve. 
I love recipes that fit on post-it notes

I ended up doubling the recipe for this size pan (9"), and it took almost twice as long to cook. After 30 minutes, the sides were already brown but the middle was still gushy so I turned the oven down to 300 degrees for another 20 minutes or so. The edges should be slightly brown and the middle should be firm and dry looking. By the time it cools fully, the edges will be flaky and the middle should be dense and moist. Flour & Butter & Sugar- oh my!

Usually I try to "healthy" a recipe up, but in this case...don't mess with this perfection. My mom makes this every year for Christmas and I look forward to it soooo much! And it's rather easy to make (much easier than the ginger cookies). 

Merry Christmas!!! 

1 comment:

  1. the ginger cookies look amazing! will def be making these!


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