{Gingersnaps}

Gingersnaps

Welcome to day 2 of Christmas baking week!

This year, Jeff and I decided to add gingersnaps to the list. Normally gingerbread is not my holiday favorite, but as part of our amazing day at Sunset’s Savor the Central Coast, we were given a goodie bag with Safeway gingersnap crisps. Random, I know, but I have been obsessed with gingerbread ever since–they were that good!

So, like I often do on the blog when trying out new recipes, I turned to Alton Brown for a little advice. Being the excessive person he is, he used 3 types of ginger in his gingersnaps: fresh, ground, and candied. We were a little worried the candied ginger might be a bit gummy, so we decided to eliminate that ingredient and just use the other two. We used our microplane zester to grate the ginger which worked perfectly–I highly suggest getting one if you don’t already have one!

Fresh Grated Ginger

He also uses ounces for his measurements which is a little annoying, but much more accurate.

Dry Ingredients

Overall, this recipe won the ridiculously easy and delicious award of the day!

Gingersnaps

Alton Brown’s Gingersnap Recipe

Makes 4 dozen

Print recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 9 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 ounces dark brown sugar
  • 5 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 ounces molasses, by weight
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 4 ounces finely chopped candied ginger

Steps:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cardamom, clove and salt.

Place the brown sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the molasses, egg and fresh ginger and beat on medium for 1 minute. Add the crystallized ginger and using a rubber spatula, stir to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until well combined.

With a 2-teaspoon sized scoop, drop the dough onto a parchment lined half sheet pan approximately 2-inches apart. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 12 minutes for slightly chewy cookies or 15 minutes for more crisp cookies. Rotate the pan halfway through cooking.

Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to stay on the sheet pan for 30 seconds before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with all of the dough. Store in an airtight container for up 10 days. If desired, you may scoop and freeze the cookie dough on a sheet pan and once frozen, place in a resealable bag to store. Bake directly from the freezer as above.

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{Kicking It Off With a Classic: Sugar Cookies}

Sugar Cookies

Happy Monday everyone! Are you ready for a week of Christmas baking? I hope so, because I’m pretty excited! Here’s the shopping list of all of the ingredients needed for the week!

Shopping List

To kick it all off, I thought I’d start with a classic: sugar cookies. Jeff and I make sugar cookies pretty much every year, and each year, we always seem to forget how much work they are. They seem easy enough–a simple dough, no kneading or fancy kitchen expertise, a little bit of frosting and they’re done right? Well, someone (not sure who that could be!) decided to triple the batch this year that let’s just say that easy process turned into day long craziness. I think I have sugar cookies coming out of my ears!

We decided to use Martha Stewart’s classic sugar cookie recipe for the second year in a year, and again, this recipe turned out great. It did seem a bit sticky at first (you want cookie dough to be pretty firm so you can roll it out easily), but after refrigerating it for a few hours, it was perfect. And I’m always glad to have Jeff to help do the rolling for me!

Sugar Cookie Dough

Despite the long day the sugar cookies gave us, there is something a little magical about getting out your cookie cutters for the first time in a year and seeing all of your old favorites. I love my star, snowman, tree cookie cutters the best, probably because they’re the most fun to decorate. I used to love Rudolph, but he always seems to lose body parts somewhere in the process!

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

And then they were off to the oven! We have the world’s smallest gas oven that keeps itself heated by igniting huge flames–perfect for baking evenly cooked cookies right? To help control this the best as we would, we baked each batch separately for about 4:15 then rotated and baked for another 4:15. It’s always so helpful to set the kitchen timer here, so you know you won’t forget them!

We also baked everything on parchment paper to keep the bottoms from sticking and burning.

And then we were left with a huge mound of sugar cookies!

Sugar Cookies

For frosting, we kinda guesstimated and combined 1/4 milk + 2 cups powdered sugar in the electric mixer. Next, we separated the white frosting into 4 small bowls and added food coloring to 3 of them, giving us red hot pink, forest bright green, blue, and white.

We set parchment paper over our kitchen table to help with the mess a bit, and provide an easy surface to work on.

Decorating Table

Faced with the daunting task of decorating 6 dozen sugar cookies, Jeff was struck with a brilliant idea–line up cookies side-by-side and drizzle frosting on all of them! Needless to say, this significantly sped up the process!

Cookie Drizzling Technique in Action

Drizzled Cookies

And with that, 6 dozen sugar cookies were frosted!

Here’s the recipe (click on the title to link to the original):

Martha Stewart’s Ideal Sugar Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

Print recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons brandy, or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar; mix until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add egg, brandy, and vanilla; mix until well combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add reserved flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
  2. Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes, and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between. Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Sugar cookie baking day wouldn’t be complete with the Christmas dolphin!

Christmas Dolphin