Some friends, we live vicariously through. Our next guest, Amy from Poor Girl Gourmet, is one such person. Oh what we wouldn’t give to follow her around her garden and help feed her pigs. We’d love to sit at a table and talk to her about her cookbook, gleaning her tips for low budget gourmet meals, especially if that table was in Montepulciano, Italy where her and her husband host culinary tours. Yup, we want to be her! Please welcome Amy…
When it comes to holiday baking, I’m more cake-baker and bread maker than cookie maven, with the exception of these gingersnaps.
I suspect that this is because of the promise of eating crystallized ginger, as it is among my favorite baking ingredients – I love it in pumpkin scones, apple crisp, sweet potato bread, even oatmeal, which I do realize is not a baked good.
And one cannot gift oatmeal. No, definitely not.
These cookies – which absolutely are giftable – strike me as quite well suited to adult tastes, not too sweet, with a little extra spice kick from that crystallized ginger.
All this from a recipe that came from the side of a tin of crystallized ginger. A tin that then lived in my pantry, even while empty, from 1999 until 2008. That’s a pretty good run for an empty container to hang around, isn’t it?
See, my pack rat rationale was that I always knew where to find the recipe. It was on the top shelf, right there next to the coffee grinder, tucked behind the mini food processor. And I definitely couldn’t take a chance that I might lose it. This is my favorite holiday cookie.
Hmmmm…if only I had had a place to keep this recipe written down.*
Every December, when the first batch of these cookies is underway, the scent of cloves, ginger, and cinnamon immediately sets the holiday mood for my husband and me, and with each sheet of cookies emerging from the oven, I wonder why I’m always so focused on cakes and bread.
“More cookies,” I think, “Yeah. Definitely. Must make more cookies more often.”
This may also have a little to do with the bits of raw dough that I sneak before baking. It’s not at all cloying, like some raw cookie dough can be. Not that I condone eating raw cookie dough, of course. But eating raw cake batter and bread dough really doesn’t bring that same, childlike glee as does snacking on cookie dough straight out of the mixing bowl.
These cookies are also fabulous for gifting, particularly stacked in jars with a handwritten label – and a copy of the recipe (more cookies for all!). And, hey, maybe even a little container of gift-wrapped crystallized ginger as well.
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
- 1 large egg
- ⅓ cup diced crystallized ginger
- approximately ⅓ cup turbinado sugar for coating the cookies
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Line a 10 by 15-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter.
- Pour the molasses into the creamed sugar and butter and mix until the molasses is fully incorporated.
- Add the egg to the sugar mixture and beat it in until it is just combined.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the sugar mixture, and mix together well.
- Stir in the crystallized ginger, then refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough into approximately 1-inch diameter balls, then toss the dough balls in the turbinado sugar to coat.
- Place the dough on the baking sheet, allowing at least 2 inches between each cookie.
- Bake until the cookies are dark brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Your colder dough (the batch that goes into the oven just after the dough comes out of the refrigerator) will take closer to 10 minutes, later batches tend to be done closer to the 8-minute mark.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
- If packing cookies in jars for gift giving, allow the cookies to cool completely before placing them into the jars.
Amy is the blogger behind Poor Girl Gourmet and tiny farmhouse, and is the author of the cookbook “Poor Girl Gourmet: Eat in Style on a Bare-Bones Budget” (Andrews McMeel, 2010). She and her husband live on a small farm in Rehoboth, Massachusetts with a menagerie of animals, including their Golden Retriever, a dozen chickens, 5 turkeys, and 3 Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs. Amy is also leading culinary tours to Tuscany in 2013, with visits to small-scale producers of wine, cheese, and olive oil – all to be sampled, of course!