Thursday, November 5, 2009
Man, I've really missed baking cookies! It's plain to see I've been besotted with cupcakes for the last few months like a schoolgirl over the moon with her first crush. But now that the infatuation has subsided a bit (but not to worry, Miss C and I have an extensive affair ahead of us yet!), I'm ready to make more time for my other baked companions (e.g., cookies, brownies, larger cakes).
A cookie was really the only choice to jump back into the larger baking sea. You see, I've been baking cookies mostly on my own since middle school. My mom is a wonderful cook of home-style Chinese food, but she has not a baking bone in her body. A family friend actually started it all by giving a beautiful Better Homes & Gardens cookbook to little 6th-grade me. With this bible in hand, I made my first batch of deeee-lish-us (classic peanut butter criss-cross) cookies and began a lifelong appreciation of fresh home-baked goodies.
Tonight I sought the comfortingly familiar motions of cookie-making but also a truly new taste and texture pairing. Allen of Eating Out Loud showed the way with his "Blond Ambition" cookies. These are essentially an adaptation of the traditional molasses cookie that swaps in sweetened condensed milk for molasses, at once lightening color and flavor. My slight adaptation had the taste of a spicier and milkier snickerdoodle with an interesting textural contrast of airy innards against chewy edges. But like Allen, I'd prefer these to be flatter so I'd swap out the baking powder for 1/2 tsp baking soda next time.
Blonde Ginger Cookies [Printable Recipe]
Adapted from Eating Out Loud
Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder (I'd try 1/2 tsp baking soda next time)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar (plus 1/3 cup to roll cookies)
1 teaspoon unsulphured molasses
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk, room temperature
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Set aside.
Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in egg, yolk, vanilla, molasses, and condensed milk until combined. Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing until fully combined. The dough will be soft. I put it in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up but that step is really optional.
Use a spoon, cookie/ice cream scoop, or your fingers to drop about 2 tablespoons of dough into the reserved 1/3 cup of sugar. Toss the dough with your fingers to coat it in sugar. Once it is coated, you can handle it better. Roll between your two palms to form a ball, then place onto a greased or silicone mat/parchment paper lined baking sheet. Leave 2-3 inches between the balls.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. This leaves them slightly under baked so they stay chewy. Once they flatten and the centers puff up, remove them from the oven. Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. The cookies will flatten as they cool, but should remain soft and slightly chewy.