Holiday Procrastibaking! Ginger Cookies

Greetings, internet!  It’s been a while.  Since my last post, I’ve submitted my GSE applications (whoo!) and have spent far too long avoiding grad school forums like the plague (because people post results on there and I don’t want to know when people are hearing back).  One of my Push to Walk trainers moved to Maine to get a degree in Outdoor Education and Recreation, and work on a dairy farm (you can check out their Kickstarter here).  If I lived anywhere near this farm, I’d probably buy all my milk and eggs from them.  Alas.

But seriously, this holiday cookie post is long overdue.  I made these cookies a couple of times while I was at Cambridge (note: the following pictures were all taken while I was at Cambridge).  Generally, I’m not huge on ginger, but I will eat mass quantities of these cookies without shame.  This recipe is slightly modified from Ina Garten’s Ultimate Ginger Cookie.

First, chop 1 1/4 cups (6 0z.) of crystallized ginger.

Ginger Cookies 1
Word of warning, the ginger will stick to the knife.

Then, sift together 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 tsps ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt.

In another bowl, mix 1 cup of dark brown sugar (lightly packed), 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses.

Ginger Cookies 4

There are some recipes where it’s okay to not have an electric mixer, but for this one, I would highly recommend getting one, borrowing one, or pleading with your next-door neighbor to let you use one, because molasses is pretty difficult to mix by hand.  Like actually.

Ginger Cookies 5
I’ve been mixing this for over five minutes and I feel like my right tricep is about to die.

Five minutes on medium speed with an electric mixer, you’re done and can move on to the next step.  I can’t move on just yet, because this is still not completely mixed (which you can see from the picture – see how the oil is kind of separate from everything?  Yeah, you don’t want that), so keep mixing!

Ginger Cookies 7
MY ARM HURTS, BUT THIS IS FOR THE COOKIES.

Alright, this batter consistency looks about right.  If you foolishly mixed this by hand, take a couple minutes to stretch your arms.

Add two medium eggs OR one extra-large egg + 1 yolk.  One egg is not enough, and two extra-large eggs are too much.  Make sure the eggs are at room temperature.

Ginger Cookies 6

The batter will become MUCH easier to mix by hand now.  Just mix for a minute, scrape the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure no ingredient got away, and then, gradually, begin to add the dry ingredients.

Ginger Cookies 8

Mix the dry ingredients for a couple of minutes, just until combined.  Scrape around the bowl with a rubber spatula again to make sure all of the ingredients are mixed.

Ginger Cookies 9

Now, add the chopped crystallized ginger from earlier.

Ginger Cookies 10

Mix until combined.

Ginger Cookies 11

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (some people like to preheat sooner, but it takes me a long time to place cookie batter on baking sheets, so I’m okay with preheating it now).  Take out two baking sheets and line them with parchment paper.  Prepare a small amount of sugar in a bowl or on a plate.   You’ll need this soon.

Ginger Cookies 12
A bowl would’ve been better, but the plate was right there and I was feeling kind of lazy.

Scoop the dough into 1 3/4″ balls, place them on the baking sheet, and flatten with your palm before rolling them in sugar and putting them back on the baking sheet.

Ginger Cookies 13

You might be wondering why the cookie batter looks kind of sticky.  Remember that thing I said earlier about how you should use either 1 extra-large egg + 1 yolk, OR 2 medium eggs?  This is what happens when you use 2 extra-large eggs.  Alternatively, if you only use 1 extra-large egg, your batter will be a little too crumbly.  Eggs are tricky.

Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until the cookies are a light golden color.  Ina Garten’s recipe tells you to bake them for exactly 13 minutes, but it really depends on your oven/other factors that probably involve science.  Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes, and then transfer onto wire racks to cool completely.

Ginger Cookies 15
You are so worth the tricep soreness I’m going to have in the morning.

This recipe should yield 16 fairly large cookies.

Here’s a link to the Ina Garten recipe (I’ve altered amount of cloves, eggs, and baking time): http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/ultimate-ginger-cookie-recipe.html

For those who don’t want to flip between the official recipe and my modifications, here are the modified ingredients and directions:

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups (6 0z.) chopped crystallized ginger
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1 extra-large egg + 1 egg yolk OR 2 medium eggs (at room temperature)
Granulated sugar (for rolling the cookies)

Directions:
1. Chop the crystallized ginger.
2. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.
3. Mix brown sugar, vegetable oil, and molasses in an electric mixer for five minutes at medium speed (or at close to ten minutes by hand).
4. Add egg(s) and mix for a minute, until combined.  Don’t forget to scrape the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
5. Gradually add the dry ingredients until combined.  Scrape bowl again with a spatula.
6. Add crystallized ginger and mix until combined.
7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (some people like to do this sooner, so, to each their own).
8. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll batter into 1 3/4″ balls, flatten with your palm, and roll in granulated sugar before placing on baking sheets.
9. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until golden brown.
10. Let cookies cool for 1-2 minutes on baking sheets.  Then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Thanks for reading!  Now that my applications are done, perhaps I might actually get around to reviewing more bakeries and such!

Happy holidays!

Val

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