I’ve realized through writing this blog I have cooked a lotof things I don’t particularly like, or I wouldn’t have normally made if I had to eat everything myself. Making the same things over and over again just gets boring after a while and having other people to give desserts to or make food allows me to cook or bake for their tastes. It also forces me to try things that I might not like. It also allows me to try to sneak food into my mother’s food that she wouldn’t normally eat (like Parmesan cheese), I look at it as pay back for making me eat food I didn’t like while I was growing up. Hehe!
Gingersnaps and ginger in general fell into the category of “meh, not really” for me until freshman year of college. My roommate at the time had a gluten intolerance and would occasionally suck on ginger candies to settle her stomach. When I got the flu that year (which then turned into pneumonia, so much fun) she made me such on ginger candies. And lo and behold, I started liking ginger. Banana chips, however, still make me gag, but that’s another story.
Who knew that ginger could calm upset stomachs? Healing through food, I love it.
I also happen to love soft cookies, much to my mother’s dismay, so while I enjoy a gingersnap every once in a while (especially Trader Joe’s) I decided I’d try David Lebovitz’s ginger cookies from Ready for Dessert. Since I’ve never had a David Lebovitz recipe turn out badly or fail to wow me, I jumped right in to make these Nonfat Gingersnaps.
I loved that these cookies had pieces of candied ginger thrown in the batter, it added a nice gingery kick to the finished cookie. My dad called them “jalapeno cookies”, he has an odd sense of spicy. I thought that the most interesting part of this particular recipe was that instead of butter you use unsweetened apple sauce, and 1 cup of brown sugar for sweetness (I love brown sugar) and a healthy dose of molasses.
Because ginger cookies have to have molasses. Its a rule.
Another perk of Mr. Lebovitz’s recipes – they all have measurements…in grams. Fantastic for a neurotic accounting student.
From David Lebovtiz’s Ready for Dessert (page 200)
Note: I have absolutely ZERO ability to judge what size an unshelled walnut is in cookie dough form, so they didn’t turn out as puffy as the picture in the book. At least this is my theory on why they aren’t as thick in the book. Ooo, it might be because the dough could have been colder. As mentioned before, some measurements are given in gram form. My favorite is the 1 cup packed dark brown sugar. So much easier than packing and worrying if I’m packing the same amount as the original author of a recipe. Wheee.
2 1/4 (315 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoon plus a big pinch ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (215 g) packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (75 g) unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 cup (80 ml) mild molasses
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup (50 g) finely chopped Candied Ginger
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
Beat together brown sugar, applesauce, and molasses in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes. After five minutes, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and the bottom and add the egg whites. Continue mixing for 1 minute.
Sift flour, baking soda, salt, 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, ginger, cloves and pepper on to a flexible cutting board or a medium bowl. With the mixer running on the slowest speed, fold the flexible cutting board like a taco and slowly pour in the dry ingredients. Once fully incorporated, increase speed to medium and let mix for 1 more minute.
Stir in candied ginger, cover (I don’t like to let the plastic wrap to touch the dough cause I don’t want any to stick. I told you I was neurotic.) the dough, and let chill in the fridge for 1 hour or until firm.
In your oven, place a rack in the top third and bottom third. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats (I envy you). In a bowl mix together granulated sugar and the big pinch of cinnamon (Or a lot of cinnamon if you were watching me :)). Make balls about the size of unshelled walnuts using two spoons or a small cookie disher and drop it into the sugar mixture.
Roll the pieces of dough into roundish shapes using your hands, or by moving the bowl around in a circular pattern (I have issues with getting my hands gunky). Place the balls of dough on the cookie sheet at least 3 inches about. Bake for about 13 minutes, or until the centers have just set. Rotate the sheets halfway through.
Let cookies cool on the sheets until you can handle them, then move them to a wire rack.