Saturday, June 20, 2009

Gingersnap search

I'm searching for the perfect gingersnap cookie. You know-just like the ones you buy in the supermarket that come in the old-fashioned paper bags. It needs to have just the right snap, a lot of ginger and that extra "bite" that sets it apart from all the others. Of course there are a multitude of gingersnap recipes out there. So, I have set my sights on wading through them all, comparing ingredients and trying out the ones that appear to be "the right one".
This is my first try. I don't even know where I got the recipe- found it in my collection of recipes but with no indication of its origin. Somewhere on the net- so my apologies if someone recognizes the recipe and I haven't given credit to them.
The dough was simple to make. I needed a small touch of flour to roll them into logs ( how do you get a perfectly round log?) Froze them a bit ( they can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days as well) then sliced and baked. I now see that I sliced the first batch too thick and they didn't come out crunchy or "snappy" enough. Taste was good but not enough bite in it for me. Next time I think I would add more ginger( for sure) and even a bit more pepper. The second batch was sliced a lot thinner and I gave them a little extra time in the oven . That definitely solved the "snappy" issue.

Here's the recipe to try if you like, and if anyone out there has a gingersnap cookie recipe to add to my collection, I'll be happy to give it a try. Happy snapping!

Gingersnap Cookies
makes 40-50 cookies

2 cups (280g) flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsps. cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

11 TBLSP. (150 g) butter, salted or unsalted , at room temp.

2/3 cup (130 g) sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup (80 g) mild-flavored molasses ( sometimes called light molasses)

1 large egg, room temp.

1. Stir together dry ingredients
2. In bowl of electric mixer, beat butter just until solft and fluffy. Add sugar and continue to beat until smooth, stopping the mixer to scrape down any butter clinging to the sides of the bowl.
3. Stir in vanilla, molasses and egg.
4. Mix in dry ingredients gradually until dough is smooth.
5. Divide dough into two equal protions and roll each on a lightly -floured surface until about 2 inches (5 cm) around.
6. Wrap eachin plastic wrap and roll lightly to smooth them out. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.
7. Preheat oven to 350 (180) and line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.
8. Slice cookie dough into 1/4 inch ( scant 1 cm) rounds witha sharp knife.
9. Place on baking sheet about 5 cm apart( they spread slightly). Bake 10-14 minutes until deep golden brown. Bake on lower end of range for softer cokies and higher end for snappier ones( depending on your oven)
10. Cool on baking sheet or two minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Storage: the dough can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Once baked, store in an airtight container for a few days.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I have been dying to try these for some time now. Growing up, I remember Sunday mornings with fresh bagels and bialys from "Snowflake Bakery" in Syracuse , N.Y. Bialys, for those who hae never heard of them, are similar to bagels , but different( that makes sense, huh?). Bialys originated in Bialystok, Poland, and when the European Jews emmigrated to the U.S., they brought their recipes along, one being for bialys. From what I have read, there used to be dozens of bialy bakeries in New York- today, only a few remain. They can still be found in selected bakeries in Florida as well ( I'm sure in other parts of the country too, but that's what I'm familiar with). The bialys I remember were crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle, not too thick and of course had the yummy center filling of onions, poppyseeds and garlic.
The recipe I used is from smittenkitchen who always has the best recipes and stories to go with them! The original recipe is from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum ( which I have yet to acquire, but that will come too!)
I followed the recipe exactly and although the process is time consuming (more waiting than anything), they turned out really great. The recipe makes only 6 bialys, so next time I will try doubling the recipe. ( 6 bialys in my house is like a drop in the bucket) Now, slice in half, add a bit of Philadelphia cream cheese or just let some fresh butter melt all over the bialy- heaven!!