Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Delightful Ginger Cookies, One Month Late

Well the long, long weekend is winding down. Soon all the tourists in town for inauguration will go home, and D.C. will quiet down to the normal gray, late winter humdrum. Sad. I liked the excitement in the air for the last week. D.C. was even on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations last night! And for those of us who live inside the Beltway, but over the river, Bourdain spent about as much time in Northern Virginia as he did in the District itself. (And no time in the Maryland suburbs.)

These cookies cheered me up a little tonight as I braced myself for the grueling three day work week. I mean Christmas was only a month ago, but I finally found a ginger cookie I like! And they're non-fat, which makes them perfect for January. (Is there anyone out there still resolutioning? There is a guy at my gym still coming to walk on the treadmill at 1 mph. No joke. He's very resolute.)

These cookies, from the awesome David Lebovitz, pack a punch. They're not for people who don't like a little spice in their cookie. The minced candied ginger gives them a stronger ginger flavor than most ginger cookies, and the black pepper gives you a good kick in the tastebuds at the end. David calls them gingersnaps, but they don't really snap. They're more of a soft, pillowy cookie, which I prefer so that works out pretty great. I made a few changes to the recipe, based on what I had on hand and to compensate for the fact that I have the strongest molasses known to man, which I figured out during a failed gingerbread experiment last month. Next time I'm definitely going to add some grated orange zest to the batter to compliment the spiciness with a little zing.

My one tip for this recipe: chop that ginger like mad. I mean just destroy it with your heaviest chef knife. You want really tiny bits. Unless you love eating big chunks of candied ginger, which I don't.

Non-fat Ginger Cookies
Adapted from David Lebovitz

1 cup, packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup molasses (1/3 cup if it is mild-flavored)
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp.ground dried ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper (dial this back to 1/4 tsp. if you want it less spicy)
1/4 tsp. salt
zest from one orange (I haven't tried it yet in these cookies, but have in others)
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup very finely-chopped candied ginger
granulated sugar, mixed with cinnamon for rolling cookies

-In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, applesauce, and molasses for five minutes at medium speed.
-Meanwhile in a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, spices, salt, and zest if you're using it.
-When the sugar mixture is done beating, scrape down the sides, and add the egg whites. Beat another minute.
-With the mixer at its lowest speed, add the dry ingredients until completely incorporated, and mix on medium for one minute more.
-Fold in the chopped ginger.
-Chill the batter very well, for a few hours or even better overnight.
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
-Pour the cinnamon sugar on plate or into a wide bowl. Scoop the cookie dough in heaping tablespoons, quickly roll into a loose ball in your hands, then roll in the cinnamon sugar. Move quickly so the dough doesn't get too warm. It will be a little sticky, but the sugar roll will make it easier to shape.
-Place the cookies on the lined baking sheets about 3 inches apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the center is just set. They should be soft cookies, so don't overcook.


Twin Tables said...

We just found these cookies today and now on your blog as well. I am so glad you have tried them. They are now on the menu for tomorrow night. I am not so sure about the orange, but I would be interested to try it. I love ginger though, so might not go mad crazy with my chopping!

Anonymous said...

Oh yum, I seriously LOOOOVE ginger cookies. these look so good!

Twin Tables said...

We made these this last weekend. One word: DELICIOUS! We absolutely loved this. Actually, the fact that they were soft and chewy made them even better. :)