Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ginger Crisps

Submitted by Michelle

"I'm not interested in dishes that take 3 minutes and have no cholesterol." Julia Child

Those who know me know I love to putter in the kitchen. For me, it is a way to relax. Though there is nothing wrong with "30 minute meals" or "Semi-Homemade cooking" that is just not how I roll. I admit, in the middle of the work week I do not always have lots of energy or time for a meal that takes an hour or more, but on the weekends or when I'm enjoying a 4 day holiday, I love to hang out in the kitchen.

And as for low-fat, low calorie cooking...I'm not a big fan. I find that since I eat so many veggie meals they tend to be low calorie anyway and because I cook at home and don't eat out much, I save on calories there too. However, if I'm going to make Martha Stewart's macaroni and cheese, I'm not going to substitute low-fat cheese or leave out the bread crumb topping. I prefer to eat in moderation than skimp on taste.

That being said, I made some of my favorite fall cookies yesterday. The recipe comes from a cookbook called Autumn by Susan Branch. (Someday I'll do a whole entry about how fabulous and talented Susan is, but for now check out her website to learn more.)

The cookies are called Ginger Crisps and they are perfectly sweet and spicy and make for a great snack with a cup of tea on a chilly autumn day.

There is nothing tricky about the recipe except that you need to plan ahead since the dough needs time to chill. I usually make the dough a day ahead of time and then bake the cookies the next day. Also, the dough lasts for days in the refrigerator so you can bake up just enough to eat and then save the rest for another day. Susan recommends freezing them because they thaw in just moments, but I like the smell freshly baked cookies give the house.

Cookie Cutter Ginger Crisps
1 c butter, softened
1/2 c brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c molasses
2/3 c light corn syrup
4 1/2 c sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Cream butter and sugars until light. Add molasses and corn syrup and stir well. Add in the rest of ingredients and knead until smooth. Chill well.

Roll out on a lightly floured surface to less than 1/8" thick. Cut with floured cookie cutters. Bake at 350 degrees on greased cookie sheet for 8 minutes or until edges or browned. Cool and store in airtight container.

A note about spices: Keeping in mind that the quality of ingredients directly affects the quality of your finished product, think about giving Penzey's a try. For years I bought spices at the grocery store until my front row friend Sheryl turned me on to Penzey's. Their spices are far superior to anything I've ever cooked with and the cost is, at times, less than the grocery store. Also, unlike wine, spices do not get better with age. Consider throwing away some of your ancient spices and re-stocking with a fresh batch from Penzey's.

A note about kneading for all my kitchen phobic friends: Don't let the word knead scare you. You aren't baking bread, just incorporating the ingredients for the cookies. I usually mix the dry into the wet using my kitchen aid mixer and then turn the dough out onto the kitchen counter and knead a few times until the dough is smooth. You can do it!

A note about greasing cookie sheets for all my calorie counting friends: Having discovered the Silpat silicone baking mat (made by Demarle), I never grease my cookie sheets and thus cut down on unwanted fat. You can find Silpat most anywhere (Williams-Sonoma, Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, even Amazon.com). Silpat isn't cheap (around $20.00), but a great investment for your kitchen.

1 comment:

Ami, Bob, and Jack said...

I still have my Silpat that Dave got me! Thanks for sharing your great kitchen tips! XOXO