Friday, December 12, 2008
Given a choice, I nearly always gravitate toward chocolate. I'm still warming up to spice and savory flavors in baking, but they clearly have a place in the holiday baking lexicon, and even I need something to cut the chocolate every now and then.
Enter Josh's mom's ginger snap recipe. I think I've had them once when Judy made them (maybe the brunch after our wedding?) but I truly have no idea what they're supposed to taste like. All I can tell you is that when I first made them three years ago, for our playgroup cookie baking party, I accidentally put in not double, but quadruple the amount of molasses required. I feel comfortable telling you that Josh has never loved me more, before or since.
In fact, though the dough was practically dripping through my friend JiAe's fingers as she tried desperately to roll it into balls, then roll them in sugar, the taste was so deliciously molasses-y and chewy that I have, since, deliberately made them with at least 1/2 cup of molasses instead of 1/4.
They turn out flat as a pancake, dark golden brown, and crisp-chewy, and they are damn good. Actually, they come out of the oven slightly puffed, but they deflate almost immediately. You have to let them cool on the cookie sheet or they will blop all over the place - the dough is still a little undercooked when you take them out after 8 minutes, and they solidify during the cooling time. It's worth the wait. In fact, I'd be well-advised not to let Josh know that's what I've been baking tonight, lest he eat them all before 10:30 tomorrow.
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar, plus extra for rolling dough
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoon powdered ginger
Cream butter and sugar. Add molasses and egg and beat well. Sift all remaining dry ingredients and add. Mix well. Refrigerate so the dough is a little easier to work with, 30-60 minutes or however long you can wait. Roll into small balls, then roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on silpat, parchment, or a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375F for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Apropos of nothing, I'm rockin' out while baking, and I'm up to the Judybats singing Down in the Shacks Where the Satellite Dishes Grow. I love the lyrics and energy of the bridge: "And I'm sorry but when I left you, you were an asshole. All those cold nights when you were out there runnin' 'round with your drunk friends..." It doesn't really translate, but there's this really great two beats of drums right before the bridge starts.
Yeah, whatever - there are only about 11 people out there who remember the Judybats, let alone still harbor a nostalgic love for the boys from down home. Now I'm up to Men at Work, if it makes you feel better.