Opening Statement

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach
~Henry David Thoreau, Walden


Monday, February 4, 2019

Sweet and Spicy Ginger Cookies -- For Trail or Home


These cookies pack a sweet and spicy punch.  If bakery and commercial ginger snaps seem bland to you, then give this recipe a try.  This is a "double" recipe, but don't worry about overdoing it.  These cookies freeze well sealed in ziplock bags, and they also keep well backpacking due to a very low moisture content.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
2 cups dark brown sugar
3 medium to large eggs
1/2 cup of blackstrap molasses
5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried lemon (or lemon zest)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (or ground cloves)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 cups unbleached white bread flour
1 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking soda

14 to 16 ounces of candied ginger chips
1 cup (approx.) white sugar for rolling the dough

Directions:
  1. Melt the butter using a double boiler until just melted, but not hot.
  2. Combine the butter and sugar, using an electric mixer
  3. Add the eggs, and mix in
  4. Add the molasses and vanilla and mix in
  5. Add the spices and mix in
  6. Add the baking soda, then the flour and mix in one cup at a time
  7. Add the candied ginger and mix in
Let the dough cool in the refrigerator for 30+ minutes, as it will be easier to work with, and this will also help to bring out the spice flavors.  While the dough cools, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put silicone mats on your baking pans, or use a light coating of cooking oil.
  1. Make dough balls of about 2 tablespoons and roll them in the white sugar before putting on the baking pan.
  2. Bake until just beginning to brown, about 18 minutes (ovens vary significantly)
  3. Immediately transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling for a ginger snap, or cool five minutes on the pan and then transfer to a wire rack for a slightly chewier cookie.
Blackstrap molasses has a more bitter flavor than regular molasses.  If you have regular molasses on hand, you could adapt by slightly reducing the sugar.  King Arthur Flour works well for this recipe.  For an extra treat, press the dough into baking brittle chips before placing on the pan.

These cookies normally come out with a cracked top, but if you put two pans in at once, the lower pan may come out with a smooth top.  To correct this, put the lower pan in first, and follow with the top pan after 4-5 minutes.

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