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Monday, May 09, 2011

Ugly Cookies

I bet your mom always told you never to judge a book by its cover.

She was right, you shouldn't.

I do, but don't do as I do, do as I say.

With me?

I can't help it, I am a visual person and if I see a book that has a pretty/interesting/colorful cover I flock to it like a moth to a flame.

Anyway, back to cookies.

Because your mom was a smart lady, I'm going to ask you to heed her advise when making this cookie (and you really should make this cookie).

They aren't the prettiest things, but dang they taste good!

Especially when you let them hang out for a day or two and let the flavors get all nice and cosy together.

And do this... you want to make them.

Ginger Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewarts Baking Handbook
The original recipe calls for refrigerating the dough for at least an hour or over night, though I only had the patience to leave them in there for 5 minutes.  The recipe also says that it makes 5 dozen cookies...I managed to get 18 large cookies. You can replace the ground ginger with 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh grated ginger if you have it on hand - add it with the rest of the wet ingredients

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
3/4 cup chopped candied ginger (more or less depending on your love of ginger)

- Preheat your oven to 350*F (about 170*C) and line your baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and spices (cinnamon, cloves, pepper, salt and ground ginger - if using).

- In a separate bowl beat together the butter, brown sugar, and molasses (add fresh ginger here if you are using) on medium high until light and fluffy.

- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and mix again until smooth (about 1-2 minutes).

- Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until the ingredients are just combined.  Stir in the chopped candied ginger by hand.

If you are going to refrigerate the dough as Martha suggests, now is the time to do it. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let chill for one hour or overnight

- Use a cookie scoop for larger cookies and place a couple of inches apart on your baking sheet. If you do not refrigerate the dough and use enough dough for large cookies be aware - they WILL spread. My cookies ran together a little bit, but they were easy enough to get apart once done cooling. Like I said before, these cookies aren't meant to be pretty. If pretty is more your thing, I suggest making smaller cookies or baking only four large cookies per sheet rather than the normal six.

- Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating half way through if your oven bakes unevenly like mine does.  You want to make sure these cook all the way through, otherwise they will never set in the middle and you will have to scrape the gooey center off of the counter underneath the cooling rack and eat it with your fingers like I did. On second what you want.

Ginger Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches
These are best made with Clotted Cream Ice Cream, but if that isn't available you can use good quality Vanilla Ice Cream. Wait until the cookies are fully cooled before making into ice cream sandwiches. If you can, hide some of the cookies and make these the next day as the flavors in the cookie really mature over night.

2 Ginger Cookies
Clotted Cream ice cream, softened

- Place two Ginger Cookies bottom side up on a piece of plastic wrap or tinfoil.

- Scoop out the softened ice cream and spread liberally on one of the cookies.

- Place the remaining cookie on top of the ice cream and flatten, you want the ice cream to stick to both cookies.

- Wrap up in the plastic wrap or tinfoil and place in the freezer for a least 30 minutes (or longer if you can resist the temptation).

- Unwrap and enjoy!