Tag Archive | cookies

Pretending It’s Fall – Ginger-Molasses Cookies

So I couple weeks ago, as I had previously mentions, I had intended to bring dessert in for me and a coworker, but did not follow through. Since then, I felt mildly guilty enough that I promised myself I’d bring some in next time we worked together. Which I actually followed through on – I brought cookies! Since it’s September, and in my mind fall has arbitrarily begun – doesn’t matter that it’s still incredibly hot out as I get to drink Oktoberfest beers – I wanted to make something in the gingerbread family. After numerous consultations with my cookbooks, I decided on ginger-molasses cookies.

Ginger-Molasses Cookies
6 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp molasses
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 knob fresh ginger, grated, or 1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp (or a couple shakes) all spice
dash of salt
1 1/4 cup flour

Cream together the butter, sugar, molasses and egg until fluffy. Add the soda and spices and mix them in. The add about 1 cup of flour. Once that’s incorporated, keep adding flour, a little at a time, until you have a soft, non-sticky dough. Plop large-ish spoonfuls on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 for around 15 minutes.

ginger-molasses cookiesThese were awesome. They taste extremely similar to my favorite gingerbread cake, which was what I was aiming for, and very different from the standard gingerbread cookies one makes at Christmas (and better in my opinion). I do have to warn you, they are a little intense, so if you aren’t a fan on gingerbread, don’t bother trying these. And two of my coworkers liked them too! Song of the week: Stereo Hearts by Gym Class Heroes. A fun, enjoyable song – not earth-shatteringly good, but fun too listen to when you’re in the mood.

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Masa Harina-Lime Cookies

I have multiple cookbooks that have recipes for cornmeal cookies. The concept seemed absurd to me, but over the last few weeks I’ve become intrigued by the concept. I don’t even like cornbread, but I love polenta and various things I’ve made with masa harina, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Some recipes suggest lemon, and others lime. I went with lime for this one, for the very logical reason that I don’t have any standard cornmeal in my apartment – I have masa harina. Since masa is treated with lime, going with lime for the citrus flavor seemed logical to me.

masa-lime cookies

3/4 cup finely ground cornmeal
3/4 cup and 2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
zest from 1-2 limes
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
juice from 1 lime

Mix the dry ingredients, the cornmeal, flour, soda, salt, and zest in a bowl and set aside. It’s way easier to zest a lime before you cut it in half to squeeze out the juice, which is why I bother suggesting the two bowls method. Otherwise it seems to me to get extra dishes dirty for no good reason. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat those in, then add the lime juice. Dump in all the dry ingredients and mix those in as well. Place spoonfuls on a baking sheet, and bake for 10-15 minutes at 400. Be careful not to over bake them – the tops don’t really brown, so you should check the bottom edges. I might have slight burnt the bottoms of my first batch …

The result: Easy and surprisingly good. The cornmeal adds some texture without being distracting about it, and the overall cookies have just a hint of lime. Just enough you know it’s there, but not enough to be overpowered by it. They aren’t quite savory cookies, but they aren’t overly sweet either. If I had to make one modification, it would be adding the zest of a second lime to the dough – I only used one. I’ve asked a friend come over and test them for a second opinion later today – hopefully he will like them as much as I do (I’ll make sure he doesn’t eat any of the singed ones). Song of the Week: The Sleeping Beauty Waltz by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. I’ve been listening to a ton of Tchaikovsky the last few days, and while much of what I’m listened to has been much darker, I love this waltz. Partially because Sleeping Beauty was one of my favorite Disney movies when I was little and this waltz is in the movie.

A Pastry Experiment – Chocolate Chip Pastry-Cookies

This was another recipe that I just sorta made up as I went along. For whatever reason, I had an overwhelming desire to make pastry cream for the first time. So I did. Then I had to decide what I was going to do with it. Fast forward a couple days (yes, days) and I saw this cool picture (attached to a different pastry cream recipe) and it looked awesome. So I decided to recreate it in my own special way. Hence the pastry-cookies. pastry-cookies

Step 1: The Pastry Cream
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a heat-proof bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, and salt. Add in the egg yolks and mix thoroughly. In a small saucepan, heat the milk until little bubbles are forming around the edges. Remove from heat and slowly mix it with the egg-sugar-flour mixture in the bowl, stirring constantly. Once you’ve finished that, pour the all of it back into the saucepan. Reheat and stir constantly as it thickens. Once thick, let the cream boil for 10-15 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Cover and stick it in the fridge to cool for several hours-a couple days.

Step 2: The Pastry Dough
3/4 cup flour
dash of salt
1/4 cup butter
Cold water
Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in the butter until there are no significant sized lumps. If compressed, the dough should almost be able to stick together. Add water, a little at a time, until the dough comes together. The dough should be soft and pliable, but cohesive and not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Step 3: Assembly
1/4 cup chopped up chocolate chips
Pastry Cream and dough

Mix the chocolate chips into the pastry cream. Roll out the pastry dough, and cut out smallish circles. You can use a biscuit cutter, but I use one of my small glass bowls. Stick a plop of cream in the center of each circle. Fold up the edges of the pastry so that it forms a sort-of triangle. Still on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15-20/the cookies start to brown.

Oh my god, so good. One of my friends tried them with me and she really liked them too! They are particularly good warm and gooey fresh from the oven, but I froze the leftovers, and they were good like that too. They are half pastry and half cookie, so I call them pastry-cookies (ok, if you think of a better name please let me know). To be fair, they are kinda chocolate-chip hamantaschen. These are great on their own, but I think they could go with tea. Song of the week: Just Like Heaven, by the Cure. Oh how I love this song.