Thursday, December 24, 2009

not-so-perfect gingersnaps

I seem to have a gingersnap deficiency. As previously noted, I can't do the math on the molasses, which dramatically changes the cookie's appearance, taste, and texture, though sometimes for the better.

I recently came across the blog of a 17-year-old Seattle high school student who bakes, does photography, and interns at a restaurant. She writes beautifully, and she said she has two all-time favorite cookies recipes, so I decided to try one. I made her perfect gingersnap recipe. Would you believe it? I screwed up on the molasses again, and my cookies were bendy, chewy, and flat as a pancake. (I halved the recipe and forgot to halve the molasses.) They were actually delicious, but they clearly were not what was intended. So I decided to "rescue" them, and I added a calculatedly-approximate amount of additional ingredients to try to get the right texture. The "fixed" cookies looked much more like Elissa's picture, but they were heavier and more cakey than I imagine they should have been. Likely, the proportions weren't accurate because of my meddling.

In any event, the taste of the erroneous ones was delicious, and I have to imagine if I'd had the ingredients right, they would have closely mimicked Elissa's in texture as well. I picture them being nice and chewy and kind of al dente, but I'll have to try them again if I want to give a more accurate review. Check out her site - I was really impressed!

See what happens when there's too much molasses?

These are the flat ones. You can practically see the molasses ribboned through the cookie.

And these are the "corrected" ones, which look pretty similar to Elissa's, but tasted too doughy to me.

Here's the correct recipe:

Elissa's Perfect Gingersnaps
(Makes 5 dozen 2" cookies)

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves (I omitted this)
pinch of salt
1 cup (7 ounce) light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
sugar for rolling (I used demerara, but I might have actually preferred granulated)

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, molasses, oil, and egg until smooth. A wooden spoon will do fine, or your mixer is okay, too. Blend in the flour mixture, stirring until the dough comes together. Chill for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment or silpats. Scoop the dough by heaping teaspoonfuls and roll in balls, then roll in sugar and place on the cookie sheet about two inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes; if you want them crispier, bake another minute or two. Leave on the sheet to firm up (they will be soft at first), and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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