Monday, December 13, 2010

Triple Ginger Cookies

I've never actually participated in a cookie exchange - one of those get-togethers where everyone brings cookies to share and at the end everyone leaves with an assortment of cookies baked by others - but they always sound like such fun. This year my friend Di proposed a cookie exchange with a bunch of our baking friends. That would have been cool enough, but this was no ordinary cookie exchange. You see, the bakers in this exchange happen to be are scattered over 9 or 10 time zones, with no chance of meeting in person. Rather than cookies actually changing hands, this is a Virtual Cookie Exchange. The cookies are real, baked by each of us in our own kitches, and they are shared with one and all in a virtual manner - on our blogs!

Di will prepare a roundup with links to all of the various cookie posts, and you can participate too! Just visit our blogs and bake the ones that appeal to you.


I'd be pretty remiss if I didn't point out that my daughter A.L.E. designed the logo for the Virtual Cookie Exchange. Being a proud mom, I'm also going to say that she's uber-talented and accepts art commissions.

My favorite Christmas cookies are the ones with molasses and plenty of of spice so that's the direction I looked when it came time to choose a recipe to share. I wanted to try a new recipe, but it also had to be a great cookie.

Luckily, last Friday I was in Houston and met up with fellow bloggers Jessica and Jeannette. Jessica and I took a class at Central Market - Alice Medrich demonstrated 5 recipes from her new book Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy. For over two hours, Medrich mixed and stirred, scooped and piped, all the while giving us tips and tricks for better cookie baking. She whipped up 5 different cookies and each person in the room got to enjoy all of the different cookie varieties. There were flat crispy chocolate chip cookies, biscotti, peanut butter meringues, ginger cookies, and brownies. I enjoyed every last crumb! At the end of class, when she was signing our books, Alice Medrich asked me, "Which cookie was your favorite?" Without hesitating, I replied, "The ginger ones!"

So thanks to Alice Medrich, I have the perfect cookie to share in the cookie exchange. Medrich calls them "My Ginger Cookies" or "Screaming Ginger Cookies" - to me they're Triple Ginger Cookies.



n.o.e.'s notes:

- I've included the recipe at the end of the post.

- Kudos to Alice Medrich for including weights as well as volume measurements for the sugar and flour in her recipes. I'd actually be even happier if the recipes contained weights for more of the ingredients. I've included as many as I could, see below.

- The recipe is not difficult, but because of the chopping and grating, it is a bit time consuming. On the plus side, these cookies use melted butter, so no creaming of butter.

the verdict:

These are - hands down - the best ginger/molasses cookie I've tasted!

I'm pretty sure that the fresh ginger is what puts these cookies at the top of the ginger-cookie list. I love how the three kinds of ginger - plenty of each - play together, and how the ginger gets solid support from a generous measure of cinnamon and allspice. The cookies are wonderful when they are baked to a chewy texture, but equally delicious when a bit crisper. The book gives tips for baking this recipe with less gingery heat, just in case you aren't the ginger fanatic that I am. Going to the opposite extreme, I'd add a bit of ground black pepper the next time I make this recipe; I love the bite that it adds to baked goods with ginger.

Thanks, Di for organizing the exchange. I can't wait to see all the cookies that everyone else has posted!

Screaming Ginger Cookies, aka Triple Ginger Cookies
recipe by Alice Medrich, from her book Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (9 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick; 2 oz) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
  • ¼ cup (2T, 100 g) unsulfured mild or full-flavored molasses (Medrich says not blackstrap)
  • ½ cup (3.5 oz, 100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (2.33 oz, 67 g) firmly packed brown sugar or light muscovado (I used dark muscovado)
  • 2 tbsp (16 g) finely minced or grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 large egg (50 grams without shell)
  • ¾ cup (4 oz) finely chopped crystallized ginger (1/4-inch dice)
  • About ½ cup Demerara or turbinado sugar for rolling (I used turbinado, also called raw sugar)

Preparation:

preheat the oven to 350F

Position the oven racks in the top third and lower third of the oven.

Line the baking sheets with parchment paper, or leave sheet unlined.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk or fork.

Combine the warm butter, molasses, both sugars, fresh ginger, and egg in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the flour mixture and chopped candied ginger and stir until incorporated. The dough will be soft.

Form the dough into 1-inch balls (1/2 oz of dough for each). Roll the balls in the Demerara or raw sugar and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake, in batches (form the rest of the balls while the first batch is baking ), for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they puff up and crack on the surface and then begin to deflate in the oven. Rotate and turn the sheets about halfway through the baking time. For chewier cookies, remove them from the oven when at least half or more of the cookies have begun to deflate; for crunchier edges with chewy centers, bake a minute or so longer.

Cool the cookies completely before storing.

Other ginger molasses cookies that I've known and loved:
Dorie Greenspan's
Molasses Spice Cookies
Fine Cooking Double Ginger Crackles that Tracey baked recently.
Another great ginger cookie is
this one from the blog Prudence Pennywise.

I tried to bake the gluten free version of these cookies that Medrich gives instructions for, but used double the egg white by mistake and ended up with a delightful wheat-free gingerbread rather than cookies.

9 comments:

margot said...

Those cookies look perfect, Nancy! My favorite ginger cookies are from Alice Medrich's "Pure Dessert," this looks like the same/similar recipe. Your daughter's logo looks fabulous, too.

How cool that you got to take a class with Alice Medrich and some blog friends!

bellini valli said...

I have bookmarked them. They sound delicious. Lucky you to attend this class.

Di said...

Ooh, now I can't wait to try these! I have so many cookies bookmarked in that book; who knows when I'll have time to try them all.

Thanks for all your help with the cookie exchange, especially with suggesting that ALE do the logo!

Kayte said...

These will be a hit here! They look like a party on that plate alright! I'm going to print off all the recipes from everyone this year and bind them in little booklet to keep. Such fun!

Jeannette said...

It was SO much fun meeting you and Jessica, I hope you come down soon so we can do it again. Or maybe the hubs and I will have to get to Georgia!

These cookies DO look great and I'm thinking that I'll give them a shot!

Leslie said...

These sound so good! I love this cookbook (but agree more weights are better). I bet you and Jessica had a blast at this class!

TeaLady said...

I would have to say that spicy cookies are my favorite holiday cookies as well. There is just something about the blended flavor of all the exotic spices and molasses that just makes me want to say, AHHHH!!!! So thanks for this one.

Lucky you to meet two more bloggers and learn from Alice. She has such wonderful recipes.

Katrina said...

Great looking cookies. I'm totally loving ginger cookies this year.
Also love Alice Medrich!
Happy Holidays to you!

Julie said...

Just made these cookies! Wow they are yummy! I just ordered her new book and will be going to a cooking demo with Alice in march. Really excited! Thanks for posting!