When I started this site almost two months ago, I made a couple rules for myself: 1) No posting on weekends, 2) Post at least two or three times a week and 3) Recipes, restaurant reviews and stories—that’s it.
Now, it seems we’ve settled into a rhythm, you and I, with my rules holding things in tact. I’m having fun. I hope you are, too. I have yet to break my weekends, and, for the most part, I’ve kept up my weekly schedule. Of course there was the cookbook review two days ago (bonus, I say!), but otherwise content is also as planned for.
So here’s the only problem, as I see it: without knowing it, I mean, without ever setting things this way in my mind and definitely not out loud to anyone, I seem to have added another rule: 4) Write about a weekly cookie.
Have you seen this happening? It started innocently enough with the peach cookies that taste like little cobblers and then, obviously, I had to tell you about biscotti. But then things started happening so fast: the everyone-was-talking-about-them NY Times chocolate-chip cookies, the oh-my-gosh-I’m-in-Heaven rosemary cookies, the the lavender cookies, which may actually have included purple sage.
I don’t really know what to say about this. Do you think there’s some kind of support network out there for people like me? A I-want-fresh-cookies-every-week help group where bakers learn to resist their cookie obsessions and experiment more often with cakes, puddings, cobblers, pies (the last of which, sadly, I have yet to even make one of here!).
I’m sure there’s some sort of hidden meaning behind this, some call to my past, maybe a sign that I miss my grandma, who taught me to make cookies, or that I miss my childhood, which is when we baked together. Maybe it’s both and, also, that cookies taste really, really good.
To me, cookies demonstrate the best of kitchen magic. That’s probably why they’re great for baking with children. The alchemy of ingredients is something that will always amaze me: put together a bunch of unrelated things, and come out with something all its own—a new creation. I mean, have you tasted flour? Anyone up for a nice tablespoon of butter for breakfast? How about a raw egg in a glass? But put all these things together, with a few alterations for flavor each time, and you have these can’t-eat-just-one tasties that everyone seems to love.
This week, it’s a ginger cookie. A Big & Soft Ginger Cookie. You won’t have to run out for crystallized ginger, which is what sold me on this recipe to begin with; and I promise it’s fast. So fast, I think the entire process of gathering ingredients, mixing, spooning and all took me maybe 20 minutes. That doesn’t count time to bake, but even that’s not bad: 10 minutes for each batch.
As far as cookies go, it doesn’t get much better than these, honestly. Not only are they tasty, but the crystallized sugar that tops them just before baking gives this pretty shimmer, amidst all those handsome crackles. Big. Soft. Sweet but not overpoweringly so. And if you’re one of those people who never liked ginger snaps (too crunchy, maybe?), these are the solution: all the flavor, none of the hardness.
And if you’re still not interested, don’t worry: I’m sure there will be another cookie recipe to come, and another after that. When I feel a little guilty, at least, I remind myself, this obsession is one other people can enjoy. In fact, I’ve decided to harness this energy, so to speak: I’ve joined this month’s group of Baking Gals and will be using my cookie love for good, sending a couple batches to a 19-year-old (!) soldier and his buddies in Iraq. To learn more about this project, head over to the Operation Baking Gals blog.
Big & Soft Ginger Cookies
from Better Homes & Gardens
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup molasses
In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add the 1 cup of sugar; beat until fluffy. Add the egg and molasses; beat well. Stir dry mixture into egg mixture.
Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (1 heaping tablespoon of dough each). Place about two tablespoons of sugar onto a flat surface. Roll balls in the sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheets about 2 1/2 inches apart; add sugar to the surface as needed.
Bake in a 350-degree oven about 10 minutes or until light brown but still puffed. (Do not overbake.) Let stand on cookie sheets for 2 minutes; transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Makes 24 cookies.