When the weather turns cold and wintry, my first instinct is to start adding spices to everything. We just had a homemade chicken soup full of garlic, ginger, and homemade noodles (if you’re sick, this will cure whatever ails you) but since this is a baking blog, I had to look for something else to offer you. Something that would light a mild fire in your belly and make you sigh with happiness.
If you know me or have been following my blogs, you’ll know that I rarely do things the easy way. It’s all about experimenting and finding new challenges. So just because I went all out and toasted and ground whole spices, that doesn’t mean you have to. These cookies will be very, very good if you use ground spices from your cupboard. If you want them to be excellent, however, here’s what you’ll want to do:
Put one whole nutmeg, 12 whole cloves, and 2 or 3 sticks of cinnamon (broken in half) in a small pan. Turn the burner on medium-low and cook for 4-5 minutes, shaking or stirring them often. When the fragrance hits you upside the head, they’re done!
Set the nutmeg aside to cool and put the cloves and cinnamon into a clean coffee grinder. It’s going to sound awful when you turn it on, but do it anyway! Grind those babies up as fine as possible. I sift mine through a small sieve to keep big chunks out of the cookie dough, and then put the remaining bits back in the grinder for a few more seconds.
Grate the toasted nutmeg with a fine grater. I used 1 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg in this recipe. You can wrap the rest of the whole nutmeg up in plastic wrap and save it for another day if you wish.
You will be seriously amazed by the added flavor freshly toasted spices add to baked goods.
However, since I’m pretty sure most of you are rolling your eyes back in your head right this very moment, I used regular spices in the recipe below. If you are making these cookies using freshly toasted spices (FIST BUMP!) use the entire amount you just ground up.
|Extra Spicy Gingersnaps|| |
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ cup molasses
- 2-3 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger root
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Heat oven to 375 F.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars together until well combined and fluffy.
- Add the egg, molasses, and grated fresh ginger. Mix well.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Roll level tablespoons of dough into balls and then roll each ball in a shallow dish of sugar to coat completely.
- Place at least an inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. (Parchment is helpful, but not necessary.) Press down with a spatula or the bottom of a glass to flatten.
- Bake for 10 minutes if you want the cookies to be a little chewy. Bake for 11 minutes if you like them crispy.
- Remove from oven and place the baking sheet on a rack to cool for several minutes, then move the cookies to the rack to finish cooling.
At this point, you can just put the cookies on a plate and watch them disappear. OR you can decorate them a little with icing.
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons powdered egg whites
2 tablespoons water
Whisk all ingredients together and put in a small plastic bag. Cut the tip off the bag and drizzle over cookies. Allow the frosting to harden completely.
If you would like to roll the cookies out and cut them into shapes, it is possible, but a little more difficult. Chill the dough for at least an hour. Roll it out on a generously floured surface between 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch thick. Cut out your shapes, sprinkle with sugar if desired, and place at least 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Put the entire sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes. Bake at 375F for 10-11 minutes. They will spread a little, but the shapes will be recognizable.
This is the most fragrant cookie you will ever bake, and the dough…oh, my word…the dough is delicious. Ahem.
I love to keep some of the balls of dough in the freezer to pop in the oven when company’s coming over. The house smells heavenly and welcoming, and the cookies are always a hit. Keep warm, my friends!!!