There are those who seek their thrills from pâte à choux, and others who find pleasure in the perfect whipped meringue. Me, I dream of gingerbread.
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First of all, it is awfully fun to make, especially with those recipes that call for dumping baking soda into a hot cauldron of sticky brew, and standing back as it rises like a volcano. Further, it comes in so many diverting forms. There are ginger snaps, gingerbread boys -- their little noses fashioned from red hots -- and plain old Guy Fawkes cakes, a gingerbread heavy on molasses that goes perfectly with a cup of strong coffee.
If you too believe that life in greatly enhanced by the marriage of ginger and molasses, and want it in a weeknight treat, I recommend you turn to Ginger Spiced Molasses Sugar Cookies.
A few weeks ago, I was putting together doughs for a housewarming party, which I froze and then baked on the day of the event. I had plenty of chocolate confections, and my new standard, the brown sugar cookie. I needed something else.
A ginger cookie seemed like great middle ground, one that seeks to please all palates and offend only those opposed to its most inherent qualities, which unlike chocolate chip cookies, does not demand partisan loyalty. It is the state controller of desserts -- really what’s not to like? And do you even know what it does?
This is a weeknight dessert because it takes less time to whip up than a burrito. Regular bakers will find all of the needed ingredients around the house. There is something incredibly chewy about this version, and highly spicy, even without the candied addition (which I did not put in) perhaps because it calls for a bit more molasses than many ginger cookie recipes. You will note that TasteFood asks you to form rather large balls, but just do it, because you want these cookies to be a little decadent in size.
If you are thinking of freezing cookie dough for holiday baking I suggest you add this to your list. The one night after work you decide that if you are forced to press out one more ill-shaped wreath that burns along the edges you are going to scream into the night, or at least take a very long walk around the block during which you ponder why it is that you are doing all the holiday baking even though you really like it but could someone else maybe fold a load of laundry, this recipe is going to bail you out.
1. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, salt and cloves in a bowl and mix well.
2. Beat butter and sugar together in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3 minutes.
3. Add egg and molasses. Mix to combine well. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in candied ginger if using. Refrigerate batter 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll dough into 1 1/2" balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar. Arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake in oven until set and crinkled on top, about 12 minutes. Remove and cool.
By day, Jennifer Steinhauer, aka Jenny, covers Congress for The New York Times. By night, she is an obsessive cook.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).