28 March 2011

Choc Full

I hate to start on a sad note but this is the first baking I've done since I lost my mom and the emptiness she left behind was all too noticeable. I think she really would have enjoyed these cookies and I wish I could share them with her. But I'm glad I can share them with you, and I hope you enjoy (click photos to enlarge)...

The goods:

Flour and spices:

Butter and ginger (I used frozen cubes), pre-mixing:

Butter and ginger, post-mixing:

I love the sunflower pattern the mixer made:

A delicious mound of chocolaty goodness:

Mixing the chocolate into the dough:

The dough, wrapped and ready to be chilled:

The cookies are shaped and ready for the second chilling:

After a quick roll in the sugar:

Fresh out of the oven:

I thought the photo needed some flowers, but since I didn't have any fresh ones on hand I improvised:

And a bonus shot I took of the Super Moon (silly name but cool to look at):

Chewy Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies

[My notes/changes in brackets]
  • 7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate [I use and like Bakers Chocolate. You might also want to save yourself the trouble of chopping and simply buy chocolate chunks or chips]
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 8 tablespoons [1/2 cup] (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger [I used frozen cubes from the grocery store]
  • 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses [I used what I had on hand, which turned out to be less than I thought so I supplemented with corn syrup]
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.

In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen [I made mine slightly smaller and ended up with 31]

Original recipe here.

My Verdict

I was slightly worried when I saw the recipe didn't include eggs but it turns out they weren't needed. The SO and I agreed that the texture of these cookies is excellent: slightly crispy and melts in your mouth. We also agreed that the flavour is too heavy. The chocolate would be good on its own and the gingerbread would be good on its own, but together they're overwhelming. You can't eat a lot of these at one time (maybe that's a good thing). And for the amount of work involved they didn't rock my world. But the texture makes these cookies worth further experimenting. I'm thinking maybe cut out the gingerbread (i.e., the spices and molasses) and try making them into chocolate-dried cherry cookies. Or skip the chocolate and molasses and go for straightforward spice cookies. On the other hand, if you like spicy, rich treats, these are for you.

I've also linked my post here, if you want to check it and other sweet recipes out:

Want to see what else I've made for my 2011 baking project?

January: Double-Chocolate Brownies
February: Angel Food Cake with Raspberry Sauce

Photos by Domicile

18 March 2011

Homeward Bound

This photo was taken by me about six years ago on my last trip to Greece with my mom. That's her walking down the alley to our house on the left.

Some of you may already know that I lost my mom this week. It was sudden and unexpected and drove home the realization (for me) that it's not if smoking kills you but when. It also made me realize how much of who I am I owe to my mom. My entire domestic side from decorating to cooking, baking, gardening, crafting and even cleaning is thanks to my mom. My appreciation for well-designed and well-made clothing also comes from her. She was a domestic goddess before anyone even knew such a thing existed. I already miss our long chats about what was happening in our gardens or on our favourite Food Network shows.

Thank you, mom: you were an amazing person and the best role model anyone could ask for. You're in my heart always.