Minnesota weather has been making national headlines. It is record-breaking cold and/or snowy here. So of course we felt the necessity to make our house smell like sweet, spicy cookies. That’s how the day started out.
SO many things happened today. Despite the cold, we found we had a constantly open door to let friends in and out, send the sad boy off to the vet with his beloved lizard (driving really carefully because it was snowing like crazy out there), let the cable guy in and out for a service call, and A LOT of shoveling. But of course, we still managed baking.
Ginger snaps are one of my very favorite cookies to eat, and baking them is pretty fun, too. But though the ginger is essential to the recipe (it is, after all, the ingredient that made it into the title), what really makes it work for me is the molasses. I love the rich, smoky-sweet flavor. I even enjoy watching it slowly, slowly dribble out of the bottle. Though molasses tastes amazing, it can be a little difficult to work with because it is so sticky. The best trick I’ve learned is to use a bit of cooking spray on the inside of the measuring cup before pouring in the molasses–that helps it pour faster and gets more of the molasses where it belongs – in the recipe.
I also want to mention something so important to baking it’s getting its own post: Make Sure Your Ingredients Are At the Right Temperature! Yes, molasses is slow, but what happened this time is that my butter was way too cold. I had just pulled it out of the freezer and though I microwaved it for two minutes at 20% power, it was still cold enough that it was just not creaming with the sugar. I’d thought that the kinetic energy of the beaters would heat it up enough that it would still come together, but I really should’ve known that trick never works. I had to put the whole bowl in the microwave for another minute at low power, and then things worked great.
Finally, a note about timing: The line between chewy ginger snaps and extremely crunchy ginger snaps is very fine. When we baked these today, 10 minutes gave us cookies that were crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle; 12 minutes was perfectly solid all the way through; and 14 was hard enough that it felt like my incisors were going to crack. (Still tasted great, though…and if you are looking for a cookie to dip in milk, these held up well and closely resembled the texture of biscotti.) Don’t let the cable guy distract you while these are in the oven. However, if you want to offer him one, we have first-hand experience that it will be appreciated.
These are crispy…but I’m curious whether you’re a crispy or chewy cookie eater…