#DorieGreenspan @DorieGreenspan #DoriesCookies @DoriesCookies #DavideLuciano @DavideLuciano #hmhco @hmhco
We thought 2020 could use a little extra Christmas, so on November 1st, Halloween came down and Christmas went up! We loaded Alexa with a fabulous Christmas playlist, and started watching all our favorite shows. With about a week to go, it was time to make cookies. We have traditional ones for sure, but I love doing family requests. They asked for pecan dreams, gingersnaps, and 7 layer bars. I have favorites for pecan dreams and 7 layer bars, but I didn’t have go-to gingersnap cookies. I decided to consult my very favorite cookie book, Dorie Greenspan’s Dorie’s Cookies. Sure enough, there was a gingersnap recipe in there and it had a triple-threat of ginger in it: fresh, crystalized, and powdered. Ooooo! Best gingersnap ever. Gobs of flavor and that perfect crispness.
She gives a dough chilling range of 2 hours to overnight, and a baking range from 14-19 minutes, depending on where you want to be on the scale from chewy to crisp. I made them once, chilling for 2 hours and once, chilling overnight, and the full spectrum of baking times. If you prefer them to really spread and get crisp, 2 hours chilling and 18 minutes baking hit that. If you prefer a little less spreading and a chewy crisp balance, chilling overnight and 17 minutes baking produced that.
Excerpted from DORIE’S COOKIES © 2016 by Dorie Greenspan. Photography © 2016 by Davide Luciano. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Melanie Clarke served these fabulous cookies at a dinner she hosted in support of the Princeton Public Library (hence the name), and I fell in love with them even before the first course was served: Knowing I was a baker, Melanie sneaked me into the kitchen early for a nibble. I left that evening with a bag of gingersnaps for the ride home and the conviction that these deserved a place in the pantheon of great all-American cookies. Absolutely packed with ginger — there’s crystallized, fresh and ground in the mix—flavored with molasses, cinnamon and more cloves than you might think wise (surprise! the teaspoonful is the perfect amount) and baked until they are both crisp and chewy, they will win you over instantly. Make them once and you, like me, will thank Melanie for sharing the recipe.
Because Melanie told me that she and her sisters had made small adjustments to the recipe, which they’d gotten from their mother, I thought it would be okay if I did too, and so I mixed the fresh and crystallized ginger with a little sugar to soften it and create a small amount of syrup that makes it easier for the ginger flavors to blend throughout the dough.
A word on crystallized ginger: Crystallized, or candied, ginger is sliced fresh ginger that is cooked in syrup, dredged in sugar and dried. You can usually find it in the supermarket alongside other dried fruits or in the spice section. If the ginger isn’t moist and pliable, steam it before using: Put it in a strainer set over a saucepan of simmering water, cover and let warm and soften for about 5 minutes, then pat dry and chop. If you can’t find crystallized ginger, you can omit it or mix 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger with 2 teaspoons sugar and let stand for about 10 minutes, until the ginger is syrupy.
Makes about 60 nuggets
2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped moist, pliable crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon plus 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
2 cups (272 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces; 170 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
1/4 cup (60 ml) unsulfured molasses
1 large egg, lightly beaten, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sugar, for dredging
Put the fresh and crystallized ginger in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the 1 teaspoon sugar, stir and let stand for about 10 minutes.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger and salt.
Toss the butter into a food processor, add the remaining 1 cup (200 grams) sugar and the molasses and whir until fully blended. Add the sugared ginger and pulse to incorporate. With the machine running, add the egg and vanilla, then continue to process until blended. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add the dry ingredients and pulse to incorporate the flour mixture; scrape the bowl as needed. When the flour is no longer visible, you’re done.
Scrape the dough out onto a work surface, pull it together into a ball and wrap well in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
GETTING READY TO BAKE: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Pour some sugar into a small bowl.
Cut off a hunk of dough — leave the rest in the refrigerator until needed. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out level portions of dough or use a teaspoon to get rounded spoonfuls. Roll each between your palms to form a ball. One by one, drop the balls into the sugar bowl, roll them around to coat and then place at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheets — these are spreaders. (Don’t press them down.)
Bake the cookies for 14 to 19 minutes, rotating the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back after 8 minutes. Baking time depends on whether you’d like the cookies mostly soft and chewy ( 14 to 15 minutes), slightly more chewy than crisp ( 16 to 17 minutes) or chewy just at the center ( 18 to 19 minutes). Allow the cookies to cool for a minute or two on the baking sheets and then transfer them to cooling racks to cool completely (or not — these are awfully good still warm). The cookies will firm as they cool.
Continue baking cookies, making certain that your baking sheets are cool before using.
The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen, well wrapped, for up to 2 months. While these cookies keep very nicely for 2 to 3 days in a tightly covered container or zipper-lock bag, they are at their best the day they are made. They can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Here are a few other photos of cookies I’ve made from Dorie’s amazing book.
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I used my smallest cookie scoop for this and it produced about 100 darling gingersnaps. Norpro 25mm stainless scoop – 1/2 Tablespoon
My food processor – Breville Sous Chef
I get asked about my spice wall all the time. The magnetic tins on the wall are great for any spices or salt-free blends. Salt corrodes the tins, so anything with salt is in a glass jar on the counter underneath.