AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: Refinement (Ginger Snap Cookies) DATE: 12/24/2009 05:47:00 AM ----- BODY:

Molasses is the viscous byproduct of processing (refining) sugarcane into sugar. Its slightly bitter caramel taste gives gingerbread its unique flavor. It’s also the sugar source used in making rum.

The various phases of sugar refinement yield different colors of sugar – from dark brown to light brown and finally white sugar. Molasses can be added to white sugar to give the effect of brown sugar (1 tablespoon per cup of white sugar for light brown, 2 tablespoons per cup for dark brown). But when making gingersnap cookies, the extra kick of straight molasses is needed.

These spicy cookies are great on their own, as book-ends for ice-cream sandwiches or as a crunchy contrast to crème brulee.

The recipe comes from my pastry instructor Bo Friberg in cooking school, and now author of the authoritative book on professional baking. I usually make half the recipe at a time (which still yields quite a lot, maybe 5 dozen). I roll it into logs and  freeze.  Then, when I'm in the mood for cookies, I can slice off a few rounds to bake fresh.

Ginger Snap Cookies
(yields 5 dozen)

4 oz. (1 stick) soft butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ egg
½ cup molasses (to best measure molasses, oil the measuring cup first, then the molasses will come right out)
1 tbs. white vinegar
3 1/2 cups A/P flour (better yet, weigh out 14 oz.)
1 tbs. baking soda
2 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground cardamom

1. Beat butter and sugar until well combined. Incorporate eggs, molasses, and vinegar

2. Sift together flour, baking soda and spices. Add to butter mixture, and mix just until combined. Refrigerate.

3. Divide dough into 2 pieces. Roll each piece into ropes, and cut each rope into 30 pieces.

4. Form the pieces into round balls and place on a cookie sheet.

5. Bake at 375 for approximately 10 minutes.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:12/24/2009 07:34:00 AM I love the idea of turning these into ice cream sandwiches filled with a rich vanilla ice cream. What could be more "holiday in New England"? ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Fresh Local and Best DATE:12/24/2009 01:46:00 PM This looks like a fantastic recipe. I use gingersnaps throughout the year, so this will come in handy. Just popping in to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Karine DATE:12/25/2009 08:39:00 AM Your cookies sound delicious! Thanks for sharing :) ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Lori Lynn DATE:12/26/2009 12:14:00 AM Perfect for the holidays.
Merry Christmas Julia!
LL ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types DATE:12/26/2009 09:03:00 AM Somebody sent me a variety of amazing homemade cookies for the holidays - of the entire batch, I was amazed at how addicted I became to the ginger snap cookies! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Grace DATE:12/27/2009 03:46:00 PM yes...hooray for brown sugar. forget refinement--i'll take mine raw and molasses-heavy! :)
awesome cookies, julia. obviously. ----- --------