Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Cut-Out Ginger Cookies

There are a lot of future tiny humans in my office. Lots and lots of pregnant women or pregnant wives of men who work here (really had to reword that sentence so it didn't read "lots of pregnant women and men"). As a result, we've had baby showers! Always a fun time and an excuse for cake. Or in this case, cookies.

My former manager is among the pregnant tribe and she's also a red-head so my immediate thought when she shared her happy news was "Ginger baby!!". So for her shower, I made ginger-baby cookies aka: ginger cookies cut out in the shapes of baby things like onesies and strollers.

These fun shapes are available on Amazon but read carefully, I definitely ordered a mini-cookie cutter which is animal cracker sized. This is one of those recipes where I felt compelled to make excellent cookies but allowed minimal room for error.

There's sugar melting involved. There are always so many moment of panic when we put fire to sugar and cook it. Remember the marshmallows? No? Oh right, because I burned the sugar syrup and there were no marshmallows. I'm down to the bottom of the barrels of my baking supplies so only had enough molasses to have one shot at this melting sugar and molasses thing. You really don't need a huge pot when melting sugar, in fact, it makes it harder because the mixture is spread out so thinly that it will burn very quickly.

As a result of this high-pressure situation, I don't have any photos of this process. But I will say, once you add the baking soda to the sugar and it puffs up, it's glorious. I halved this recipe due to my molasses limitations but ended up using less flour than the half-recipe called for. Really, you want the dough to be a cohesive and not crumbly like sugar cookie dough but not so sticky that you can't roll it out.

All in all, a successful cookie endeavor! And these don't expand as much as sugar cookies do which was super good to figure out.

Recipe (for a full batch)
  • 2/3 cup dark or light molasses
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 Tablespoons baking soda (I definitely did teaspoons when I made this...things I'm realizing riiiight now)
  • 10 2/3 Tablespoons of butter (just under 1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 egg
  • 5 cups of flour 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Combine the molasses, sugar and spices in a small saucepan and stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved. 
  3. Add the baking soda to the still hot mixture. Everything will puff up. Remove from heat once the dough stops expanding.
  4. Pour the sugar mixture into a bowl containing your cubed butter. Stir to melt the butter.
  5. As the mixture cools, add the egg and flour. I recommend adding the flour a cup at a time, you don't want the dough to get too dry.
  6. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface, just like you would do with sugar cookies.
  7. Punch out your shapes and bake on the parchment-lined sheets until firm.
  8. You can ice these if you'd like but they also taste good plain.

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