Friday, September 25, 2009

Ginger Cookies

Don't you just love that fall has its own special flavors? Pumpkin, ginger, apples, cinnamon. Yum. The temperatures haven't really cooled down in California yet, but I'm still in a fall mood. Natalie and I made these ginger cookies last week and they are the best ginger cookies I've ever had. It's Natalie's recipe and she did most of the work, so I'm giving her none of the credit.

Natalie went out and bought a sifter just for this recipe. A woman after my own heart. If you don't have one, don't fret. You can just whisk everything together.

Let's pretend you have a sifter and get started. Add 2 cups flour to your sifter.

Now it's time for your fun fall spices. Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Now add 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves. Cloves - that's another fall spice I had forgotten about!

Add 2 teaspoons of ground ginger. I have to admit I don't own this spice. Good thing Natalie does.

To the sifter add 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda. That's a heck of a lot of baking soda, but I don't question Chef Nat.

Time for 1/2 teaspoon of salt!

Sift it all together, people.

I didn't really know how a sifter worked until we made these cookies. Do you know? Apparently a metal ring circles around as you pull this weird trigger thing and shoves the mixture through the sieve at the bottom.

And a nicely mixed...mixture (ha) comes raining down.

Flour with spicey speckles. We'll be seeing you later.

Now get out another bowl and add 1 cup sugar. Not too much sugar in the batter because the cookies will be covered with sugar later on. Kinda like those cider donuts I mentioned a few posts ago - you need to keep things from being too sweet, especially if you're planning on eating about 10 in a sitting.

Now add 3/4 cup vegetable shortening. Okay, okay. I know shortening is just a tad bit bad for you. This is the first time I've cooked with it since I was a kid, so give me a break. These cookies taste so good it's definitely worth it.

Cream together the shortening and sugar with your electric mixer set on a low setting.

Add 1 large egg to your creamed shortening and sugar.

And get ready for some real flavor - it's time for 1/4 cup molasses. Sadly, I tried to spell this "molasis" before I spell-checked. Spelling is not my strong suit, as my mother can attest.

Now incorporate everything with your mixer.

Secret ingredient time. Dice up 5 heaping tablespoons of crystallized ginger. This stuff looks tame, but if you are tempted to take a little nibble (like me), your eyes will bulge out a bit at the intensity. In the cookies they taste perfect though.

I hope your mixer is ready for a serious workout, because it's time to add the flour to the batter. Keep mixing while you slowly add the flour until everything is well incorporated.

Always the fun part of the cookie making. Bla.

Add the chopped crystallized ginger to your dough and use a spatula to combine.

Using your hands, make 1 inch balls of dough.

Place the dough balls into a small bowl filled with sugar and roll it around until coated.

Now place the balls of dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Look at these little cuties all lined up. Wow in retrospect, it's not the least bit surprising that some of these cookies became Siamese twins. Just a little bit packed.

Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. They will get that lovely crackly look on the top that I love.

Cool the cookies on a wire rack for as long as you can manage before eating them up.

These cookies taste as good as they look and are especially perfect for making this fall. Or really any season...because they are just that good.

Ginger Cookies
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar, plus more for the outside of the cookies
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
5 heaping tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together 2 cups flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer on low speed to cream together 1 cup sugar and 3/4 cup vegetable shortening. Add 1 large egg and 1/4 cup molasses to the shortening and sugar mixture. Blend with an electric mixer until completely combined. Slowly add the sifted flour mixture to the wet ingredients while blending with electric mixer. Once fully combined, add 5 heaping tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger and combine with spatula. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place cookies on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

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