Our winter routine now consists of a nightly pot of tea. Lemon or lemon-ginger are our go-tos. I often leave mine unadulterated, but sometimes there's a couple teaspoons of honey, an additional squeeze of lemon, and, on the weekends (or after an especially stressful day), a splash of rum or bourbon. We sip this on our couch, curled up under blankets (Maki is usually wrapped up under two or three of these in an attempt to keep her nose warm). The TV streams episodes one after the next. We're in full hibernation mode.
On a recent trip to the store, Eric mentioned that he's been craving some ginger snaps to go with our tea. We bought a box and, while delicious, I couldn't help but think how nice it'd be if I made my own cookies. Not that it'd be healthier, but, unlike other prepared items we purchase, baking a batch of ginger snaps isn't terribly complicated. Now, I'm usually a fan of chewy cookies. A little crunch on the outside is fine, but I prefer them a little underdone in the middle. However, my goal here was to make crispy ginger snaps. And I wanted them to be little guys. A couple bites each.
This took a bit of work. I first made the dough, which I knew would result in a flavorful cookies, since I'd consumed half the bowl as I transferred it to the baking sheet. The trick was to roll the dough balls so that when they spread in the oven, it would only be a couple inches in diameter. Next, I needed to figure out how long to bake them for. Too long, and they get burnt (which happened a few times) and too short and they don't crisp up. It's a tough job, but I was happy to take on the challenge.
I've found that a number of ginger cookies don't call for crystalized ginger. For me, I love the kick that you get from those little bits, so I've included some in this recipe. There's no doubt that these are ginger cookies. None at all.
Crispy Ginger Snaps
Yields: About 60 cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground all-spice 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter 1 cup sugar 1 large egg 1/4 cup molasses 4 ounces crystallized ginger, minced 2 or 3 cookie sheets lined with parchment or foil
1. Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl; stir well to mix.
3. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together on medium speed the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes until very light, fluffy and whitened. Add the egg and continue beating until smooth. Lower speed and beat in half the dry ingredients, then the molasses. Stop the mixer and scrape down bowl and beater. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients. Mix in the crystalized ginger. Remove bowl from mixer and use a large rubber spatula to finish mixing the dough.
4. Scoop out the dough using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon. Roll into balls between the palms of your the hands. Yes, they will be small. Place the balls of dough on the prepared pans leaving about 2 inches all around each, to allow for spreading.
5. Bake the cookies for about 8-9 minutes, or until they have spread, are golden brown and are firm to the touch. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to cooling racks. Store the cooled cookies in a cookie jar or tupperware container with a lid.