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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A last hurrah for overindulgence...



ahhh...chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies



I've come to the conclusion, after years and years of trying to lose a few pounds after the holidays, that it's impossible to address tubbiness, until March at the earliest. I find myself firmly in comfort mode until the first signs of Spring.

Well woo hoo, Spring has sprung in the north east of America. We have sightings of crocus (-i?) in our front garden, all the snow is gone and finally we seem both alarmingly and tantalizingly close to the skimpy clothes of summer time. Skimpy is all relative mind you; I am 40 now after all!

Speaking of which, this past weekend was the official celebration of my husband's and my 40th! We're like The Queen, you know, we have a real birthday and an official birthday (to celebrate with the masses). So some of our oldest friends and family kindly came over/up/across to help us celebrate. Such fun! Enough said; no details required! If you read my cousin's guest post at the weekend, you'll know there were good food and drinks involved (and a babysitter!)

So time to get serious with the healthy eating to really make a difference to the scales. I publicly declared last night that I'd had enough with the extra 5-7 lbs which have been hanging around like a bad smell for the last year. Huh? You're wondering; doesn't she always make healthy food? Mostly yes, but my love of food makes portion control difficult and I have a borderline addiction to chocolate and ice cream! Actually these pesky pounds mostly crept on, in a monumentally greedy 6 weeks over a year ago. I've just not been disciplined enough with my portion control since then, to kick them to touch.

So here's my last hurrah from the weekend past, then the decadence of the winter must be put in check.

This recipe, to be honest, is the first recipe I thought of putting on my blog. Every time I bake these cookies, they are eaten with such gusto and lip smacking that, without fail, the recipe is asked for. The recipe is a Martha Stewart one and largely unchanged. All I've added are a few extra tips as they can be a little bit tricky at times.They really are so worth the attention to detail though. Read on...


Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies


makes approx 20 cookies

Ingredients
7 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (I use ghirardelli 60%)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup/ 4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar


Directions

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. Sift together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa, in a medium bowl
  3. Using an electric mixer, with the paddle attached, beat the butter and grated ginger until they turn a light cream color.
  4. Add the brown sugar, beat to combine and then add the molasses. Beat again until combined
  5. Combine the baking soda with 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water and stir to dissolve. Mine never dissolves completely so don't worry.
  6. With the mixer on low, add half of the flour mixture, then mix slowly to combine.
  7. Then add the baking soda mixture, mix again.
  8. Then add the remainder of the flour and mix again until combined.
  9. Finally add the chocolate and mix one last time until just combined.
  10. At any of these points only mix until combined. Over mixing will produce a tough cookie.
  11. Scrape the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a disc approx 2" thick.
  12. Wrap up and place in the refrigerator for approx 2 hours or until firm. Sometimes I throw it in the freezer to speed up this process.
  13. Heat the oven to 325°F
  14. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll into balls of approx 1 1/2"
  15. Place them on a cookie sheet and cool again in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  16. Put the sugar in a cereal sized bowl and roll the balls in it until completely covered.
  17. Put them in the oven as soon as quickly as possible; if the dough is too warm it will spread and burn more easily.
  18. Bake for approx 11 minutes or until the surface just begins to crack. They will still be very soft when you take them out of the oven.
  19. Let them cool on the baking tray for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. If you move them too quickly they will fall apart.
  20. Watch these cookies closely; they burn easily due to the molasses and dark brown sugar. It's 2 minutes between a perfectly baked cookie and a burnt bottom.

We made ice cream sandwiches with these last weekend, using vanilla ice cream. They were obscenely good!!

A couple more notes:
  • I keep my fresh ginger in the freezer and grate it frozen. If you're doing that, add more than a tablespoon of ginger as it seems to grate up with more volume when frozen.
  • Measure your molasses and boiling water very carefully for this recipe; if you overdo either your cookie will spread too much and burn easily.
  • I use the Barefoot Contessa's (http://www.barefootcontessa.com/) method of measuring flour usually; I stir up the flour to lighten it and then scoop out the necessary amount. I use the handle of my spoon to scrape off the excess.

Enjoy!

6 comments:

  1. oh I feel like you have made these before and I loved them!

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  2. I did and you did!! I challenge anyone not to love them!!!

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  3. Sorry folks, somehow managed to delete the oven time from this recipe; now fixed. Enjoy!

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  4. These look great matey girl. I need to get my two bakers on the case ASAP.

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  5. excellent articles, useful for me. keep writing and happy blogging.

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  6. Thanks juqeludo, glad you're enjoying the blog. Keep checking in. There's more good stuff to come!

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