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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

gingersnaps; tuesdays with dorie

 this week, we tackled gingersnaps.  fitting choice given the season.  truth is, i love gingersnaps and gingerbread and will make either one at anytime in the year.  since gingersnaps are a favorite of mine, i was eager to try this recipe which was contributed by david blom and to see it, this is the link.

as always, i made a few changes to the recipe.  first of all, i very rarely use molasses.  how can that be you ask?  well, i live in the south and around here, we use sorghum.  so what's the big deal about sorghum?  it tastes better than molasses and it is a pure product meaning that it is just sorghum syrup that is extracted from sorghum cane and cooked down.  no chemicals, no refining, nothing, just sorghum.  not familiar with sorghum, read a few facts about it here.  and for those of you with a diy fetish, here is an interesting article on just that, making your own sorghum.

 what other changes did i make to the recipe?  well, for starters, i added a whole lot more spices.  i quadrupled the ginger, doubled the cinnamon and added garam masala, cardamom and cloves to make a nice and spicy dough.  then i reduced the water a bit; i was making a batch that was 4 times the recipe and it would have called for 6 tablespoons of water but i only added 5.  thinking back now, i would reduce it even more, maybe just use 4.

when i roll out cookies, i use wooden dowels that are the exact thickness that i need to help guide my rolling pin and keep it all consistent.  i also brush off as much of the excess flour as possible.

my collection of cookie cutters is on the large side.  in the bins are several hundred shapes to choose from.  since these cookies are going to a christmas party, i chose a holly leaf, it was 2"x3" and with a batch of dough that was quadrupled, i ended up with just over 60 cookies.

 the recipe was a bit unusual for gingersnaps.  it did not include any eggs and when the cookies were cut, they got a glaze made of molasses and water before going into the oven.  the recipe for the glaze could easily be cut back, i had a lot left over but again, i did multiply the recipe.  if you do the same, cut the glaze in half.  if you just prepare the recipe as it is, make the full amount.

 and just because i could, i gave the cookies a sprinkle of sanding sugar before they went into the oven.  no such thing as too much sparkle on a gingersnap.

the cookies took longer in the oven than the recipe called for.  a lot longer and about double the time if not a little longer.  considering that i made them only slightly larger than the recipe called for and that i baked them at 350 rather than 325 (because i didn't read that...), i was surprised at how long they took to become "almost firm" in the oven.  the other surprising fact is that i had also reduced the water.  the cookies were a little on the soft and flexible side and once they finally baked, they were really hard once they cooled off.  those with sensitive teeth may want to dunk them first...

 perfect with a cup of hot tea or coffee, feel free to do just that, dunk them if you like.

 after a hectic couple of days at work, it was nice to come home and bake a batch of cookies.  it was well worth the time i spent that afternoon, almost comforting.

 as the afternoon sun slowly sank, the light changed in the room.  it seems that all of the classes and workshops i have taken suddenly came together in one quiet afternoon in my dining room.  the light became the focus, not the cookies.

 the magic hour.  you can see the shift in the light by looking at the top left corner of the photo.  suddenly, the pink/gold of sunset was creeping in.


this light is fleeting.  you must be just as quick to capture it.  here it glides across the pan from left to right.

 and now, it has moved.  so quickly the color changes.  

 and changes still.  the mood of the photo has changed as well.  

would i make these again?  meh...maybe.  with changes.  less water, no glaze.  love that they are made without eggs and could easily be a vegan recipe by switching the butter to a non-hydrogenated shortening, a vegetarian butter or coconut oil.  honestly, i have a wonderful gingerbread recipe and a damn good ginger snap recipe already so the likelihood is slim.  but that vegan factor will keep them on the maybe list.  to see how the other tuesdays with dorie bakers did with this recipe, visit the website.  to bake along with us, pick up a copy of the book and, register at the website and start baking!  the book can be found easily, it is still in print.  try bookstores, online, your local library or a friend.  whatever you do, just bake...




5 comments:

  1. your photos are lovely. I pulled my cookies out of the oven a little too late in the day to get a good shot. I should have doubled the baking time, too. I increased it by 50%, but it wasn't enough to make them crunchy all the way through.

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  2. Your photos are really lovely - when that natural light hits just so, it does amazing things, doesn't it?

    I liked these - but wish I had amped up the spices. I wanted more ginger in my gingersnap!

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  3. Wow, love your pics. So beautiful. I should have baked mine for longer...they never crisped up. I don't think I'd make them again. I'll look for a better recipe...with more spice!

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  4. Lovely photos! Love the overhead shot with the cup of tea.

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  5. Thank you for sharing about sorghum and your wooden dowels technique. I will try rolling dough like that for sure. I agree with you that the cookies are on the 'meh' side, but your pictures are great!

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