Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ginger Snaps

When I was a little girl, I used to spend my summers in Thousand Island Park, NY. It is a truly idyllic community almost out of time. I have the best childhood memories of getting a quarter every afternoon to spend at the penny candy counter, competing in sailboat races with my cousins, and lying on the dock until the sun was barely peeking over the river. As with all of my memories, food plays a very central role. Everyone would gather around the picnic tables out back which were always covered with simple, fresh ingredients, prepared deliciously: grilled tomatoes stuffed with corn, iced tea with fresh mint, and the best peach cobbler.

One of my fondest memories is of melt-in-your-mouth ginger snaps made by my cousins’ grandmother, Edna. Neither of my grandmothers left me with an illustrious culinary heritage, so naturally I turned to other people’s grandmothers. Edna’s ginger snaps were crisp on the outside from their generous sugar coating, and cakey on the inside, full of sharp ginger flavor. When we were little, my cousins and I used to sneak into her cottage and steal a few from the tin where she kept them. It’s hers I think of whenever I make these so-called “Screaming” Ginger Snaps.

Screaming Ginger Cookies
adapted from Alice Medrich’s Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons non dairy butter
1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
3 tablespoons water
3/4 cup crystallized ginger, 1/4” dice
1/2 cup Demerara sugar for rolling

Heat the oven to 350ºF. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and salt, and whisk until thoroughly combined.

Combine the flaxseed and water in a blend, and whip until thick and creamy. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add the molasses, sugar, fresh ginger, and flaxseed mixture. Stir until combined. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. The dough will be soft.

Scoop tablespoons of dough into balls and roll in the Demerara sugar. Place 2” apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating front to back and top to bottom halfway through; 10 minutes for chewier cookies, 12 for crispier ones. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Try not to eat the whole batch in one sitting!

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