Monday, August 19, 2013

Ginger Honey Cookies

As you know, recently there's been a lot of ginger going around these parts. Apart from making tea and using this root in savory dishes, I started thinking about what else I could do with it. A gingerbread house? Ooh that would be fun! Or gingerbread men! But a little beyond my current prowess. Also, not exactly the right season for it, because those definitely seem to be wintery sweets. And although the evenings have been a little cool recently, we're not exactly at X'mas time just yet (thankfully! Ouf this summer has just flown by!).

And so I decided to try Smitten Kitchen's Gingersnaps. They seemed to be the perfect mix of gingery goodness yet not-quite-middle-of-winter-ness. Also, I was heading off on a vacation with the fam (read more about it tomorrow), and it's nice to have some goodies to share. Plus they seemed pretty easy to make. Of course I decided to do them and got excited about them on a Friday just before heading out for said vacation, so when I discovered that you need molasses for any kind of gingerbread or gingersnap, that threw me for a loop. Sadly I've never tasted molasses - though some day I'll have to try making something with it (with them? Are molasses plural?). Apparently, though, you can substitute honey for molasses, which was good enough for me. I also decided that since I was changing one thing, might as well change a few. So here's my adaptation of SK's gingersnaps.

Ginger Honey Cookies

1/2 cup (scant) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1 cup salted butter (if you use unsalted, remember to add in 1/2 tsp salt later)
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 large egg
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup (scant) honey
3 tsp ginger
2 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

(makes 3 dozen cookies)

Cream together the butter and sugars in a mixer. When it's nice and fluffy, add in the spices, egg, honey, and vanilla essence, then mix again. SK doesn't use vanilla essence, but I figured since I wasn't using molasses, an additional depth of flavor would be welcome. Also, you'll see that I used a scant cup of granulated sugar - this is partly because I was lazy and didn't want to get the package of sugar from the cupboard (when one is short it is probably not a good idea to keep such things on the topmost possible shelf), and partly because I figured the vanilla would add some sweetness too (and it did - these were perfectly sweet without being overly so).

Look at the little ginger scoops! Aren't they cute?
I used raw honey - it tastes so much better than the usual processed stuff you find in supermarkets, and apparently it's better for you too.
It's a pretty shaggy dough when it's warm, and chilling it in the fridge for a bit makes it much easier to roll.
Add in the baking soda and ginger (thaw it out first of course if you're using frozen like I did), mix again. Add in the flour and mix until it comes together. Refrigerate for an hour or two to chill the dough.

Roll into 1 inch balls, set them 2 inches apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. I used aluminum foil because I discovered that the box of parchment paper did not, in fact, have any parchment paper left in it (yeesh, first the sugar, then this - I need to restock the baking goods portion of my kitchen apparently). It seemed to work just as well, so pick your favorite. If you use aluminum foil, you will need to grease it by lightly running a stick of butter over it, otherwise the cookies will stick.

At first, when I started rolling out the dough, it made nice smooth balls.
But as I rolled, the dough started getting warmer and warmer.
You can see hows shaggy the dough balls look here.
Preheat oven to 350, and pop the cookie sheets with dough balls into the fridge until the oven heats up. You see above how the dough was already starting to get warm while I was rolling it. You want it to be nice and cold right before you put it in the oven, so that you don't get a gingersnap sheet, but individual nicely spread gingersnap cookies. You don't need to press down the balls or anything - they will spread by themselves into nice round gingersnaps.

Bake for 15 minutes for perfectly soft cookies. Bake for 18 for crisp cookies more resembling gingersnaps. They will soften a little if you store them in an airtight container. I wanted cookies, not snaps, so I baked these for 15 and stored.

When you take the cookie sheets out of the oven, let the cookies cool on the sheets until they firm up a bit, then move them to cooling racks to cool completely.

Tada! Ready for dunking (perhaps not in masala ginger chai though - that might be a bit much) and munching!

These were perfect for a cloudy afternoon, and I'm sure they'd be great come Thanksgiving or X'mas too. The honey gave them a nice mellow flavor, and there was just enough subtle ginger to make you think twice. If you like your gingersnaps extra gingery, you could use an extra tsp of ginger or top with candied ginger - I think that would make them a bit too fiery for my liking though. These have that perfect hint of warmth and coziness but they're still light enough to be not completely amiss at the tail end of summer. Plus they travel well, and make delicious s'mores (just sandwich your toasted marshmallow between two of these with a bit of chocolate and they are scrumptious) too! 


  1. Wow! You must make them for us when we go on a vacation!

  2. Okay, next time you're in the country, you're coming to our place and making all these cookies for me - um, us, yes? *stares at M piercingly* I don't ever want any other gift. Chai + cookies, that's it.

    - undemanding cousin ;)


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