We are a couple of weeks into 2015 now, and I, for one, have so far failed miserably at my goal of eating less sugar. I try not to set “resolutions” per se, because we all know how that goes, but I did go into the year with the very real intention of getting back to the healthy eating habits that I once practiced. And granted, there’s no need to throw in the towel by any means, but I’m not off to a very good start… 😉
There are lots of good recipes to come for this month, but for this week’s Baked Sunday Mornings recipe, I’m taking it back to the holidays. I made these scrumptious Gingersnaps with Lemon Sugar from Baked Occasions for holiday treats at work, and they may well be my new favorite gingersnaps. I don’t have any particularly inspiring thoughts on gingersnaps, but I did really enjoy them, even though ginger is not at the top of my favorites list. These cookies are chewy and spicy, with a crispy, crackly exterior– just right, by gingersnap standards! What makes them extra special is the lemon-sugar coating. While most (all?) gingersnaps are rolled in plain sugar, the lemon gives them a bright citrusy zing.
Sadly, they were not without their issues, but after lengthy discussions with my blogmates, I think it comes down to one of two possibilities: 1) I mismeasured the oil or flour, or 2) I didn’t mix in the oil well enough. My dough was VERY oily, and I thought the cookies would bake up into some kind of greasy mess. Surprisingly, they baked up just fine, though they leached so much oil on the parchment that I drained them on paper towels. But please don’t let this dissuade you– most of the other bakers had no problems with these, and I’m confident that it was my own error. I was hoping to re-bake them, but didn’t have the chance this week. Nevertheless, they were great, and I will absolutely return to this recipe the next time I make gingersnaps.
The dough is very easy to pull together. I made and rolled the dough one night, then made the lemon-sugar, re-rolled the cookies, and baked the next night. I wasn’t sure if the cookies would benefit from being chilled, as most BAKED doughs do, but I figured it couldn’t hurt. The dough was quite soft, and I thought the cookies might spread too much if I put them right in the oven.
You’ll whisk together the canola oil and sugar, add the egg and egg yolk, and then the molasses (I used a dark blackstrap variety).
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, spices (ginger, cinnamon, allspice), baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the molasses mixture. The instructions say to do this step by hand; I wasn’t sure why this was necessary, so I mixed with a wooden spoon, and I think a mixer would be fine as well. In fact, using a mixer might have helped with my emulsification problem. Or, maybe I should have mixed by hand; I’m not sure if this is a deal-breaker.
I could see that the dough had a “shine” that meant the oil was leaching out; I used gloves to roll the dough balls, and they were pretty oil-slicked by the time I was done! After chilling overnight, each dough ball left a ring of oil on the parchment paper.
I was fully anticipating a major baking failure, but as I mentioned, they baked without incident– I tested a couple of cookies rolled in plain sugar before baking off the whole batch, and there was no visible oil leaching out.
I then went ahead and made the lemon-sugar by rubbing the lemon zest into the sugar by hand, giving it a fluffy texture and pretty sparkle, something resembling snow. The lemony scent and fluffiness were dreamy! I re-rolled the rest of the dough balls after draining them for a few minutes, then rolled them in the sugar.
I baked the cookies for 15 minutes, which gave them that crispy exterior; next time I’d reduce it by 1 minute, for a slightly softer cookie, but they were great. I loved the pretty crackles with sparkly lemon-sugar bits clinging to the surface. However, they did leave some oil behind on the parchment, so I drained off quite a bit on paper towels before packing these up for gifts.
Also, the test cookies served as a control for typical gingersnaps rolled in plain sugar versus the lemon-sugar. The lemon-sugar is so lovely– it gives them a soft citrus scent, not overpowering, but perfectly complementary to the cookie flavors. I loved their chewy, dense texture, and the ginger imparted just the right amount of spice without a harsh finish.
My tasters really enjoyed them, and I’ll definitely keep these on the shortlist of holiday cookies. (Exhibit A: hubby begging and whimpering for me not to take them all to work.) You can find the recipe for Gingersnaps with Lemon Sugar at Baked Sunday Mornings, and see how the other bakers fared with these! 🙂
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2015.
Lemon sugar FTW. I’m pretty sure if you would have vigorously attacked the oil/sugar mixture with the whisk, your batter would have been less oily. The reason I’m sure is because when I mixed mine, I noticed the same thing. But since you had posted about the oil problem, I went in and mixed more than I thought it should… and it all glommed together. Thank you for the guidance!
Seriously. I need to find other things to put that magical stuff on! Yes, perhaps I was not aggressive enough with the mixing. I was very tired that night, so it’s quite likely that I was not fully aware of whether the oil was well-mixed. I’m glad my comment/mistake was helpful– we’re all still learning! Thank you for all that detailed research that you did this week– I’m sure that the next time I make them, it’ll be fine. 🙂