Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ginger Molasses Cookies, or, The Day I Realized I May Have a Compulsive Baking Disorder

Ooh, cookie jar!
Hello friends! So my baking was nearly sidelined this week when I contracted a yucky cold, but luckily today I woke up feeling like things are getting better. Frakah was supposed to come bake with me, but alas, she too has contracted the nasty cold making its rounds in my family. So I sat there eating breakfast this morning, trying to figure out what to do with myself. Sure, I had finals to study for and a 3 page memo to type up (which, unfinished, is 3 pages at this moment), but my hands were feeling a little restless and my brain a little useless. The dejected half of me got crafty made some salt scrub to give away as gifts (surprise!), but the baking warrior in me would not let this day, one of few weekend days before Christmas, go to waste. I felt a mysterious need to bake something, as if I would not be complete without baking something today. It's like baking has become a compulsion for me, something I can't help but do. So, what to make, you ask? Ginger Molasses Cookies!

I Have always had a fondness for molasses cookies. I love that chewy, warm, thick taste. To me, molasses cookies are like the Cabernet Sauvignon of cookies. And I love me some Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, my dad poured me a glass while I was baking these very cookies. So anyway, my next decision was which recipe to use. I've been so happy with every recipe I've baked out of my Grand Central Baking Book that I just had to try its recipe for Ginger Molasses Cookies. I could not be happier with the end result, which is warm and delicious. The ginger heats up your tongue while the molasses gives a nice aftertaste, and the outside is crispy while the inside is chewy. All in all, a lovely Christmas cookie. Enjoy!

What a lovely pan of cookies!
Ginger Molasses Cookies
from The Grand Central Baking Book

3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
2 cups (14 oz) granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling
1/2 cup (6 oz) unsulfured molasses (not black strap)
2 eggs, at room temp
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Measure the dry ingredients (flour through cloves) into a bowl and whisk to combine.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and molasses on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is lighter in color and fluffy. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl several times during the process.

While the mixer is running, crack the eggs into a small bowl and add the vinegar. Reduce the speed to low, then slowly pour in the eggs, letting them fall in one at a time and incorporating the first egg completely before adding the next. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once during the process.

Gradually add the dry ingredients (in 2 to 3 additions) with the mixer on low speed. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once, to fully incorporate the butter and sugar.

Scoop the dough into balls about the size of ping pong balls and roll the balls in sugar, then arrange them on the baking sheets, 6 per pan. Press each ball into a 3/4 inch disk.

Bake for about 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. The cookies should be rich brown in color, with crackly tops. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets.

Note: I baked my first batch a little longer, as the cookies didn't look quite done. I used a medium cookie scoop to scoop the dough. This produced 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

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