Gingersnap cookies really symbolize the holiday season. They're flavored with a blend of spices, which give the cookies a really intense flavor. I make mine with cinnamon, clove, allspice, nutmeg, black pepper, and of course, ginger.
The texture is chewy on the inside with a "snappy" outer layer. Lulu loves eating them with a warm cup of tea. I've been making us ginger tea with soy milk every evening to ward off the cold, and these cookies go perfectly with it.
Servings: about 60 cookies
1 whole egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 (2-inch) chunk fresh ginger
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1 clove, ground to a fine powder
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/3 cup candied ginger, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon black pepper (optional), freshly ground
1/3 teaspoon coarse sea salt (or regular salt)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
How to make freshly grated ginger: Clean the ginger root and remove any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife. Grate the ginger with a fine mesh microplane. Gather about 2 teaspoons of grated ginger root.
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar until you get a pale, yellow foam; the texture of the egg yolk will be thicker. Add the molasses and grated ginger.
In a mini-prep processor (or mortar and pestle), combine 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice, candied ginger, black pepper and salt. (You can also skip this step if you don't mind pieces of candied ginger in the cookies.)
In a separate bowl, combine the remaining sugar with 1 teaspoon of ground ginger. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine the flours and baking soda. Sift the dry ingredients.
In another bowl, cream the butter with the spiced sugar. Add the brown sugar and shortening. Add the egg mixture with the creamed butter and slowly add the dry ingredients in 3 batches. Chill the gingersnap dough in the refrigerator until you're ready to bake.
Using a melon baller, form ¾-inch dough balls. Roll them in the ginger sugar, remove the excess sugar and place them on several (I used 3) non-stick baking sheets (or regular sheets lined with a silicone mat). Make sure they are spaced out so they don't touch each other when they expand while baking.
Bake the gingersnaps for 5 minutes at 375°F; lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 7-8 minutes. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks. Allow to cool completely. They will harden and get firm as they cool.
Serve with a nice hot tea or a pumpkin latte.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's recipe where I pair the gingersnaps with a delicious dessert.
Sifting dry ingredients helps to get rid of lumps of flour and also to aerate the mixture when liquid is added. It's very important for all of your baking so you get a moist result.
I made the gingersnaps with black pepper; it might sound odd but it really gives a nice spicy kick to the cookies. You also might want to try them with a pinch of cayenne pepper. It's just equally delicious.
For a stronger butter flavor, I used butter-flavored shortening. And for easy measurement, I used shortening sticks.
I usually buy a large bag of black peppercorns in an Indian store. They're very fragrant.
You can find candied ginger in most Asian stores at a very reasonable price.
To guarantee quality baked goods, use the best butter you can buy.
You can keep the gingersnaps in an airtight container and store up to a week. Believe me, they don't last long in our house.