Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Best Ginger Cookies you'll ever eat in your life

Really.  Stop your searching.  This is it.  These are the best ginger cookies you'll ever eat in your life.

They are spicy, intoxicating, slightly chewy cookies with crispy edges.  They smell delicious and they taste amazing.  They are so good I'm scrapping all the other recipes I've ever tried.  I've made these cookies four times in the past week.  I can't get enough of them.  I have no more left and just thinking about them makes me want to go whip up a batch right now at 3am and bake some just so I can eat some more.  Thank goodness it's the holidays so this kind of behavior isn't deemed too inappropriate.

These cookies are laced with ginger.  They have ground ginger, fresh ginger, and crystallized ginger.  I know most people don't keep the last ingredient in their kitchens commonly, but it is worth it to buy yourself some.  I bought mine on Amazon for a very reasonable price.  The crystallized ginger really adds great warmth to the flavor of the cookies and are an integral part of what makes the cookies spicy in a mellow, round way (not at all overwhelming).  The original recipe doesn't call for browned butter or cinnamon, but I love the depth of flavor the browned butter adds to the cookies and the fragrance and warmth that the cinnamon imparts.  They are perfect for the holidays.  They are just the kind of thing you want to share with family and friends, and they are delicious with a tall glass of milk.

I'm salivating just writing about these.  I think I'm going to have to make another batch.  I think you want to too.

The Best Ginger Cookies Ever
adapted from Alton Brown's recipe
[note: these quantities are written in weight measurements because they are more accurate, but cup measurements are also provided for convenience]

10 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ tsp sea salt
2 heaping tsps finely grated/minced fresh ginger
3 ounces (85 grams) candied or crystallized ginger, finely minced
3 ounces (85 grams) molasses  (very scant ⅓ cup)
7 ounces (198 grams) dark brown sugar  (1 packed cup)
1½ tbsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 large egg
9 ½ ounces  (296 grams) all-purpose flour  (2 ½ cups)
1 ½ tsps baking soda

First, be sure your fresh ginger and candied ginger are both very finely chopped.

Brown the butter by putting the butter into a small saucepan or pot.  On medium heat, cook the butter, stirring constantly.  It will froth and bubble and after around 4-5 minutes, the milk solids will begin to caramelized and everything will smell delicious.  Watch carefully, stirring at this point.  Most of the milk solids are the color of dark caramel/brown sugar, turn off the heat and stir constantly.  It will continue to cook for a bit after this, even if you remove if from the heat.  Be careful because there is a thin line between browned butter and burned butter.
Add the sea salt, fresh ginger, and candied ginger to the butter.
Allow the butter to cool to room temperature.  (In the winter you can speed this process up by putting the pot with the browned butter outside)

Once the butter is cool, combine with the molasses, dark brown sugar , ground ginger, ground cloves, and ground cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.  Beat with a hand-held or stand mixer until light and fluffy.  The mixture should almost double in size.   (Note: this is why you want the butter to be cool, almost "resolidified" to a softened texture... hot butter does not become fluffy)
Add the egg and beat again until light and fluffy.
Add the flour and baking soda and mix until combined.  (Note: weight measurements are more accurate than using a measuring cup.  Also, when adding the flour and baking soda, I kind of sift it over the "wet batter" with a spoon.  The idea is to keep everything light)
At this point you can either refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days before using (or alternatively, freeze and use within a month), or bake it off immediately.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Roll the cookies into 1-2 inch balls.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 12 minutes.  The cookies will be soft when you pull them out, but they will keep cooking for a little bit when you leave them too cool on the sheet.  Resist the urge to bake these cookies longer!  (Unless you like hard cookies...)

These lovely darlings will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about 7-10 days, if they last that long.

3 oz chopped crystallized ginger and 2 heaping tsps of minced fresh  ginger

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    This is really a unique cookies with the flavor of ginger. These cookies are just the thing to make your guests feel at home and add a sweet fragrance to your home. These cookies can be kept fresh by placing them into an airtight container. Thanks a lot.