Today I baked Gingersnaps, contributed to Baking With Julia by David Blom. The recipe is simple and yields a small number of cookies. Perfect for those of us who over-indulged in Christmas treats and want only a few nibbles of something sweet!
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons unsulfured molasses
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons water
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon molasses mixed with 1 Tablespoon water, for glaze
Put the sugar, molasses, butter, spices, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or work with a hand-held mixer). Mix on medium-low speed just to cream the ingredients, about 2 minutes. Add the water and flour and mix on low until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds.
Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into a rough square or rectangle, wrap in the plastic, and refrigerate to firm, about 2 hours. You can make the dough ahead and refrigerate it for 2-3 days or freeze it for up to a month.
Position the racks to divide your oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325. Set aside two non-stick baking sheets, or lightly grease two baking sheets.
Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured work surface. (Even after a long chill, the dough will be very soft and sticky, so you'll have to flour the top of the dough and keep checking on the bottom, dusting the counter with more flour as needed.) Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to a thickness of between 1/8 and 1/4 inch, taking care to roll up to but not over the edges. Try to keep the square or rectangle shape--you'll be able to cut more cookies that if you roll a circle.
Dip a small (about 2 inch) cookie cutter into flour and cut as many cookies as you can. Place the cookies on the baking sheets, leaving just a bit of room between each one---these barely spread. (Gather the scraps of dough together, wrap them in plastic, and refrigerate until they are cool enough to roll again.) Using a pastry brush, paint a light coating of the molasses glaze over each cookie.
Bake the cookies for 5 to 7 minutes, or until just slightly firm. Lift the cookies off the baking sheets and onto cooling racks with a wide metal spatula. The cookies will crisp as they cool.
Gingersnaps will keep in a tightly sealed in or plastic container for about 4 days.
Yield: about 2 dozen cookies
Yield: about 2 dozen cookies
I modified the instructions a wee bit. Instead of chilling the dough in plastic wrap, I rolled the dough between two sheets of wax paper. Then I laid the dough with the wax paper onto a cookie sheet and chilled it for about an hour. The dough was perfectly chilled and ready to cut!
Another method I use regularly, and I did with this recipe as well, is to use dowel rods as guides when I roll the dough. This way I get uniform thickness. Today I used 1/4 inch dowels, but I have a variety of sizes.
I also added a sprinkling of coarse sugar after applying the glaze before baking. I just love the crunch that the sugar gives.
This recipe is so delicious! Since I rolled the dough to 1/4 inch thickness, they were soft in the center and crunchy on the edges. That's my idea of a perfect cookie!