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Ginger Snaps Chez Panisse

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Level: Easy

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Description

Here is a recipe for one of the tea table classics: the gingersnap. The peppery spiciness of the little biscuit makes it a quintessential cold weather cookie.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups White Unbleached Flour, Plus Extra For Work Surface And Your Hands
  • 1-½ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1-½ teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
  • 11 Tablespoons Softened Butter
  • ⅔ cups White Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ cups Molasses
  • ½ teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1 whole Egg, At Room Temperature

Preparation

A note about prep time, cooking time and servings: The prep time includes placing the dough in the freezer for about 30 minutes, or until it hardens enough to cut into rounds with a knife. The cooking time of 10 minutes is for 1 tray of cookies. Servings are listed as 36 because that is the highest entry allowable on the TastyKitchen recipe form. However, the recipe will actually make 50-60 gingersnaps.

You will also need:

1. A mixer, standing or hand.
2. 2 mixing bowls: one may be the bowl of the mixer.
3. A lightly floured pastry board.
4. Waxed paper or plastic wrap for wrapping the cookie dough.
5. 1 or more baking sheets, lined with parchment paper. The photographed batch of 5 dozen cookies was baked on a single baking sheet, using only 1 sheet of parchment, allowing the sheet and parchment paper to cool a little between batches while cutting the dough for the next round of baking. The baking sheet used measures (across the top) 15.5 x 10.5 inches (40 cm x 27 cm). A sheet of this size will bake a dozen gingersnaps at a time.
6. Cooling racks.

For the cookies:

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and ground black pepper.
2. In a second bowl, beat the butter until it begins to lighten then add the sugar. Beat the mixture until it is smooth.
3. Stir the molasses, the vanilla and the egg into the butter and sugar mixture.
4. Then add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and stir until a smooth dough forms.
5. Divide the dough in half. Place half of the dough on the lightly floured pastry board, flour your hands a little and with a light hand. Roll the dough into a log of about a 2-inch diameter (about 5 cm). Do the same with the second half of the dough.
6. Wrap the logs in waxed paper or plastic wrap and freeze them until they are firm enough to cut into rounds with a knife. Hardening may take about 30 minutes or a little more.
7. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) while the cookie dough hardens.
8. When the dough is hard enough to cut, take out a log, place it on the pastry board and slice off 12 rounds, or more if your sheet is a large one or you are baking multiple sheets at one time. Cut each slice about 1/4-inch thick. Place them, leaving roughly 2 inches of space between them, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Return the uncut portion of the dough to the freezer.
9. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Cool the cookies on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring them to a rack. (As explained in the note above, the cookies may be made on multiple sheets. But it is also possible to make them on 1 baking sheet, using the same sheet of parchment for each batch baked. To do this, cool the parchment lined pan a little after removing the baked cookies and while you cut a second batch for baking. Arrange the cut rounds on the cooled pan and put them quickly into the oven.
10. Gingersnaps keep for many days in a cookie jar or tin. Their flavour continues to develop and becomes a little more pronounced over time.

An acknowledgement: The recipe is adapted from one in a cookbook by Alice Waters (founder of the restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, “The Art of Simple Food” (2007).

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