I absolutely adore ginger. If it's an option, I'll pick it over everything else on a menu--somehow, it seems to flavor every food it touches to perfection. I eat ginger cereal, drink ginger tea, and order Fever Tree ginger ale at our local coffee bar. Honestly, my obsession is so extreme that when we go out for sushi, I always order an extra side of pickled ginger just to eat. Weird? Maybe. But there are all kinds of health benefits associated with ginger, especially for your digestive system. And when you're pregnant (I'm not), eating ginger helps with nausea! So really, it's a health food--at least that's how I see it:).
Needless to say, when I stumbled on this Ina Garten recipe (from her 2006 book, Barefoot Contessa at Home), and in addition to the normal, gingery ingredients, they were packed with little bits of chopped crystallized ginger, I started salivating. Not to mention that, unlike ho-hum gingersnaps, these were plump and chewy looking. And I wanted to eat them right off the page.
So we (I) had to try them. And plus, I hadn't baked in a while, and Big Brother loves a great cookie-baking special time (special time is the hour or so every afternoon when Big Brother is not resting and Little Brother is asleep, and we get to hang out, one-on-one). We made two attempts. The first failed. Not miserably, but enough that the plastic baggie holding batch #1 sat unopened on the kitchen counter for 36 hours. Not a good sign. Batch #2, however, was a roaring success. They came out of the oven about four hours ago and are nearly gone. And I, friends, have found my cookie. Ginger heaven.
I learned a few things from the initial debacle, though. After we added the dry to the wet ingredients, the dough became super thick and hard--so much so that my mixer started bumping and bouncing and generally protesting its contents. I tried to solve the problem my adding more oil, then some water (novice move, now I know), and all of a sudden, the dough was too sticky and mushy to form. And so I added flour. And it was all downhill from there.
- Sifting the dry ingredients together is crucial. I like to slack on sifting--it doesn't work here.
- Don't overpack the flour or the sugar. You don't need extra thickness in the batter.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients very slowly, waiting for each large spoonful of flour to mix in fully before adding more. When the dough gets to the point where it is easy to mold and not sticky enough to stick to your palms, and you can no longer keep it from accumulating on the paddle attachment, stop. I probably discarded 1/3 cup of the dry mixture.
Looking at these pictures is convincing me that I need another cookie with a cup of tea before I go to bed. And that these would be fantastic sandwiched around some homemade lemon custard ice cream. Perhaps that will be our next adventure.
Have a great Thursday!