Archive for the 'Eat it' Category

The Story of my Peppermint Bark

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

It’s so easy that there’s hardly any point in posting a “recipe” for this, but it’s so good that it’s worth pointing out: two layers of melted chocolate topped with crushed candy canes makes a yummy brittle candy that’s difficult not to finish in one sitting.

The Ultimate Gingersnaps

Monday, November 13th, 2006

I’ve been hitting the gingersnaps pretty hard. Homemade, store-bought, homemade bought at the store, store-bought stolen from other people’s homes… you name it, and I’ve eaten its gingersnap. That hobo passed out in the alley, clutching the brown sack with the picture of Grandma on it, the one you kicked? That was me.

But it has been worth it. I think I’m on something.

I mean, on to something.

This gingersnap is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with a rich molasses flavor and just enough ginger. The texture on these is just about perfect, and they flatten out to that elusive low-key puffiness that makes you go “mwahum, mmwahmwahm” when you eat them. The top cracks up into that great “parched desert of chewy deliciousness” look.

For this last batch, I kept the cookies smaller and came away with about 40 two-inch cookies plus two five-inch supercookies (my favorite). I also remembered to roll them in sugar before putting them in the oven. As before, I used fresh organic ginger. I also used organic sugars and flour. It’s hard to say whether the extra expense contributed directly to the outcome, but it’s also hard to argue with the results:

1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
some white sugar on a plate to roll the cookies in

Mix the brown sugar, oil, molasses, and egg in one bowl and the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger in another. Don’t be tempted to splash in any extra molasses, or you’ll kill the ginger flavor. I like cloves though, so I did spill in a little more than half a teaspoon. Add the dry stuff to the wet stuff until you have sticky dough. Roll the dough into balls about an inch around, then roll them in some white sugar on a plate before putting them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

If you want them a little chewy inside, bake them for about 12 minutes at between 350 and 375. For more solid cookies, go the full 375 and bake for closer to 15 minutes. I know this basically because I put the first batch in too soon, before the oven was preheated, and it was chewy, while the second batch sat a little longer in the oven while I finished a song on Guitar Hero, and they were crispy.

I might make just one more batch of these between now and Thanksgiving, but after that, I need to take a look at some chocolate ideas I’ve been having, and some lemon bars will be due very soon as well now that I’ve cleared the gingersnap level.

Orange-Caramel Cake

Friday, October 6th, 2006

This recipe is a variation on one shared with me by a kindergarten playground companion with whom I recently reconnected after recognizing her name in a database I was tending for our coincidentally mutual employer. I didn’t even realize at the time that she was still in the area, much less working for the same company, as I hadn’t spoken with her in more than 20 years. Fortunately, it didn’t take long to rediscover common ground in dessert, particularly a favorite birthday cake potent enough to spark a sibling rivalry.