Happy Accidents: Ginger Snaps 2009

I made a batch of my most popular holiday contribution last night: ginger snaps. I've been baking these for a few years (using the recipe from Wayne Harley Brachman's Retro Desserts), but as I always feel the need to experiment, they come out differently each time.

This year's adventure varied greatly from those in the past: 1) my old Braun Multimix kicked the bucket, so I faced the evening without beaters and my little chopper. Thankfully, I adopted a cast-off baby Cuisinart food processor, so that took care of chopping issues...but I'd have to mix the batter by hand. 2) I forgot to take the butter out of the freezer. So, as I have no patience...and no microwave...I melted the butter. I know you're not supposed to, but tough! 3) I used Quatre Epices instead of cinnamon and clove (YUM!) 4) I totally screwed up the recipe. I didn't follow the directions properly...I misread ingredients...Whoops!

...BUT, this is the best batch of ginger snaps I've made. They're really snappy (they've never been crunchy), and the flavor's great.

Here's what I did:

Ginger Snaps 2009

• one 2 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 heaping tablespoon Quatre Epices
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, just melted (the center of the stick was still there)
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 egg
• 1/4 cup molasses
• 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Set racks in the middle and upper part of the oven and preheat to 375.

In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients.

Purée the ginger in a food processor (or grate, retaining the liquid). Add wet ingredients to the ginger and process until everything's just mixed. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, then mix with your hands until dough is thoroughly combined.

Drop small balls of the dough (they were less than teaspoons) onto a nonstick cookie sheet, at 2-inch intervals. With wet fingers, round out and flatten dough a little. Bake for about 8 minutes, turning the pans once (front to back, for even baking), until the cookies are evenly browned. As soon as you take them out of the oven, carefully remove the cookies and allow them to cool on a rack (otherwise they seem to stick to the sheet).


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