So, December is here.
And just a few months ago, I was reminiscing about fall.
But now, Thanksgiving is over, I've spruced up my tiny apartment with some holiday cheer, it is now freezing by California's standards and the neighborhood yards have exploded with Christmas lights of all different colors.
I'll admit, I used to be strictly a no-Christmas-music-before-Thanksgiving kind of gal but since churning out holiday work projects since August, I might have broken that rule just a few times. Some days, when it was still almost 100 degrees outside, I'd need a little something to put my mindset in the holiday season. I'd put my earbuds on, scroll through my various Pandora Holiday stations and choose something. Within seconds swelled the sound of uplifting trumpets and the suave voice of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin. Every so often, I'd slowly remove one earbud just to make sure that this was a silent endeavor.
At about 15 minutes in, I'd turn it off and switch to something else. It just got too weird and felt wrong.
And it still felt a little weird to listen to Christmas music the night of Thanksgiving.
I think I'm starting to become a jaded adult.
So here we are at the beginning of December (actually the last day of November as I'm writing this post) and I have now fully accepted that I will happily listen to Christmas music.
Along with Christmas music, this December I have decided to also...
bake only sweet, delicious things. Such things include cookies, yeasted breads, a buche de noel/yule log cake for Christmas Day, toffee and something with meyer lemons.
decorate my apartment for Christmas since I will actually be around this year (done!).
watch some cheesy Christmas movies.
see Star Wars at least 2 times and subsequently make some Star Wars themed treat for KBC (Coming soon!).
watch the Sherlock Christmas Special on New Year's Day (It's not technically December but it still counts in my book).
To summarize, I basically plan to bake a bunch of things and watch a lot of movies/shows.
Thankfully, these cookies fall under the first item on my bucket list.
For a while now, I've been looking for a really good Ginger Snap cookie recipe. I have two main criteria.
One, they must be delightfully chewy, not crispy or cakey.
And two, they must have a spicy ginger flavor.
A few months ago, my Auntie Kathy mentioned that the best ginger cookies she's ever made were on the back of Ginger People's Crystallized Ginger Chips. I mentally kept a note to get them the next time I saw them in the store and when it was an appropriate time to bake ginger cookies.
That happened a few weeks ago. I was pretty skeptical at first because these crystallized ginger chips come in good sized chunks. Kristen and I decided to try one when I brought the package home and boy were they strong. On the first bite, there's a sudden impact of ginger flavor, followed by some heat and then some sweetness. To solve that problem, I decided to mince the ginger chips into tiny pieces to save cookie eaters from getting a huge mouthful of ginger if they weren't prepared for it.
Other than that, this is your basic cookie dough. Cream together the softened butter and sugar, add the eggs and molasses, add the sifted dry ingredients, fold in the ginger chips, chill for at least an hour, roll in sugar and bake.
This cookie dough also benefits from an extended nap in the fridge so feel free to chill it overnight.
When they come out of the oven, they're still slightly soft in the middle and will make your house smell like Christmas again. You'll want to consume about 3 of these cookies in a row. But that's okay because they're fairly small.
Or give them away and watch them disappear within seconds. Good thing that bag of ginger chips is capable of making about 6 dozen in total.
The key word is Chewy because the Star Wars references are already here.
Chewy Spiced Ginger Snaps
Slightly adapted from the Ultimate Chewy Ginger Snaps from The Ginger People
Yields: 3 dozen cookies
Molasses easily comes out of a measuring cup if you spray it with cooking spray first.
I'll admit that I totally omit spices if I don't have them. I'm not entirely sure of the purpose of the allspice so feel free to omit it if you don't have it. The cinnamon and ground ginger are a must, though.
3½ ounces (½ bag) The Ginger People Crystallized Ginger Chips, minced
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 large egg
½ cup granulated sugar
Mince the ginger chips. Sift the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
Cream together the butter and the 1 cup of sugar until light and creamy. Add the egg and the molasses. Add the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. Stir in the ginger chips.
Chill dough for one hour to overnight.
When ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 375ºF.
Form one-inch balls and roll in the ½ cup of granulated sugar. Place on a lined baking sheet, two inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the middles are still slightly soft in the middle.
Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then move to a cooling rack.