Sunday, June 27, 2010
Sweet Melissa Sundays: Ginger Snaps
Ok, I'm a total dork, but I starting writing this post about 3 weeks in advance of it's due date. Generally speaking I'm a procrastinator. But I wanted this post to be just right, so I figured with a head start it would eventually end up where I wanted it to be without scrambling around on Sunday like I do many weeks. Well I'm scrambling a bit! I guess I am procrastinator through and through. This is an exciting post for me...combining my first week hosting a Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to also share how my blog came to be called the Ginger Snap Girl.
I find that Ginger Snaps are the kind of cookie that you love or you hate. I fall on the love, love, love side of the coin! It is one of my favorite cookies of all time (with classic chocolate chip and linzers in the running). The Ginger Snap recipe that I have been making for the last 10 years or so comes from a family friend (where she got it from is unknown). Actually she was my Great Grandmother's best friend for as long as I can remember. Though Great Grandma and her friend passed away in the last decade, the recipe was passed on to my Grandma J who passed it along to me. This is one of those recipes that people ask for after they taste these delicious cookies. And I happily pass it on so others can share in the goodness.
When I first started my blog I struggled to come up with a name. Of all the cooking and baking I do, cookies are hands down, my favorite thing to make. They are personal size portions of sweet goodness and love that you can easily share. Cookies bring a smile to people's faces. So I started thinking about my favorite cookies and how I could incorporate that into a name. Ginger Snaps were the perfect fit. They are classic, yet unique with their spicy flavor. Of all the cookies I bake and share with others, Ginger Snaps are one of the top 2 requests (the other being linzers at the holidays). So, why not The Ginger Snap Girl? (The Linzer Girl just didn't do it for me!).
I was actually torn about which recipe to choose to host SMS this week. Truth be told, I really didn't want to try another Ginger Snap recipe because I adore my family recipe so much. But choosing this recipe really seemed like the right thing to do...to pay homage to a beloved recipe and the namesake of my blog all at the same time. In reality, Melissa Murphy's recipe isn't all that far off from the recipe I've been counting on for years. The biggest differences are Melissa Murphy's addition of white pepper and my recipe calls for the cookies to be rolled in sugar before baking and Melissa's does not.
I sometimes give my Ginger Snaps a special twist with a lemon cream filling. I adapted a raspberry cream filling from Martha Stewart's Cookies cookbook by subbing lemon juice for raspberry puree. This creamy filling is delicious and pairs perfectly with the chewy Ginger Snap. See recipe below. My lemon cream came out a little looser than I like this week, but that's because I halved the recipe and didn't do the math right! One tip I will offer about the lemon cream is that when you first add the heavy cream to the melted chocolate it looks like it's going to seize up the whole mixture. But be patient and keep working in the cream a tiny bit by tiny bit. It eventually loosens back up and becomes workable. It's also key to refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes up to a few hours.
Onto to the star of the show....the Ginger Snaps! I followed Melissa Murphy's recipe just as it was written, mostly. I couldn't resist rolling the balls of dough in sugar before baking. But I did everything else exactly. :) Even added the white pepper.
So how do they stack up? They are delicious! They came out thin and chewy with a lovely blend of spiciness. I keep tasting them to see if I can pick out the white pepper, but I really can't....it blends right in. The real test was my hubby...he usually tries my weekly creations out of obligation but he's not a big sweets person. Can i just say he went back for thirds on these cookies when I baked them last night? I made the full batch and came out with 3 1/2 dozen cookies.
Check out other Sweet Melissa Sunday's Baker's Ginger Snaps here.
Lemon Cream Recipe
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Recipe for Raspberry Cream Sandwiches
7 1/2 oz best quality white chocolate coarsely chopped
2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
Juice and zest of 1 medium lemon
Melt white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat; whisk in cream in a slow, steady stream. Combine juice of the lemon and zest with sugar. Add lemon mixture to the chocolate and slowly whisk until pale, about 3 minutes. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
From Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/3 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugars and butter until light and fluffy, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Beat in the egg. Stir in the molasses.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and white pepper.
3. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
4. Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
5. Using a small cookie scoop, form balls approximately 1 inch in diameter, and place them 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for a about 15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze well wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil for up to 3 weeks. Do not unwrap before defrosting.
You will need three cookie sheets to bake all of the dough.