Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ginger Honey Cookies

Hmm. These were the cookies I was going to make on Monday night that cut for time. They're from the month's Gourmet (Oct 07), though the recipe isn't posted. I made them tonight because, well, if nothing else, I paid 14 freaking bucks for the crystalized ginger on Monday, so I'll be damned if I let it sit on the shelf. Though I also really like ginger.

They tasted fine, but they were way, way too soft. I'm pretty sure that they weren't cooked long enough, but the instructions say cook for 10-14 minutes (a pretty wide variation, there, in a short time frame) until they are "golden brown." That's great and all, but how on earth can you tell when the batter starts out at pretty much that color? And this isn't a multi-batch recipe like Toll House, where you can adjust after the first sheet - it's all or nothing.

The recipe also says they they should be "pillowy." Mine were anything but. Flat, flat, flat. If I had to guess, it would be that I didn't get enough air into the batter (starting with the butter and brown sugar step).

I can tell that getting the timing of these right will result in a lot of burnt cookies.

So, screw it. No Do Overs on these. Here's the recipe if you want to give it a shot yourself after my glowing endorsement:

GINGER HONEY COOKIES
MAKES 14 COOKIES
ACTIVE TIME: 15 MIN START TO FlNISH: 45 MIN

The crisp edge and pillow-soft, chewy middle of these cookies will be the first things that strike you when you bite into them. But it's the faintly peppery traces of ginger that will make you crave more.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt /br>1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup mild honey

Preheat oven to 350F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, and salt in a bowl.

Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and honey until combined. Reduce speed to low, then mix in flour mixture.

Drop 14 heaping tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto 2 ungreased baking sheets.

Bake, Switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, 10 to 14 minutes total (Cookies will spread flat).

Cool completely on sheets on racks. Cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature 3 days.

7 comments:

mg said...

Make sure to not use a cold egg straight out of the refrigerator when you are baking - let it warm up a bit just like you do with the butter. And yes, whip a little more air in your batter.

Hal Shipman said...

Nope, the egg was room temperature. It was probably the air issue.

dhruv said...

Hi, I believe this is the recipe from epicurious.com.
Even I've been trying these cookies, making subtle variations. The problem is that my oven is only big enough for 4 cookies, so I'm making small batches, and making slight variations for each batch, try to get the proportions right.

The first one was done according to the recipe, and I got(as you said) flat cookies, which baked vary fast, and were spongy in the center.

For the 2nd batch, I added some more flour and cooked at a lower temperature. I got a better shape this time. Not flat, but more like a cookie, except that they were tapering a little too much at the edges. However, they again burnt a bit at the edges, and understandably so.

The 3rd time, I kept the batter the same, but covered the cookies for the first 7 minutes of cookies, and I got much better results. I'm able to control the shape using the about of flour, and the roasting using the covering. However, I can't seem to be able to reduce the tapering at the edges beyond a certain point.

I've added some more flour(about 30g - 2 tbsp) and am trying again. Will keep you posted on how these turn out.

dhruv said...

Chilling the cookie batter for about 30min in the refrigerator helped make the cookies spread less. Also, take care NOT to put the batter on a hot/warm baking sheet or else the cookies will run before they get a chance to harden, and you'll get flat cookies. Roll the cookie batter into balls while it is still cold, and place them onto a cool or room temperature baking sheet to bake. Make sure that your oven is pre-heated properly at the temperature specified in the recipe. I usually bake at about 40~50 degrees centigrade lower than specified in the recipe and get good results, since my over is of a very small size(just 16ltr).

A good way to check if your oven is properly pre-heated or not is possible in ovens which have a temperature control and an indicator light which indicates whether the heating action is taking place or not.

If you want to pre-heat to 120 C then keep the oven at about 150 C and after about 10min turn the temp down to 120 very slowly. If the heater light goes off, you know that the temperature control in the oven is working fine. Every time you open the door of the oven, the temperature will fall, so make sure that you pre-heat it to a temperature which is about 20 C higher than what you want it to be.

Hal Shipman said...

Yeah, it's probably on epicurious.com by now.

And I have to admire your work on this - you're far more patient than I. I imagine it's probably a very good learning experience, too.

dhruv said...

Thanks :-)
One more thing I figured out was that 1/8tsp ground ginger is equivalent to 1tbsp crystallized ginger, so you can make that substitution and still hope to get decent results. I got a good taste, but since crystallized ginger isn't available in grocery stores where I live, I'd have had to make it myself to check for any differences. For one, the cookies would have turned out sweeter, since crystallized ginger has a high proportion of sugar in it.

dhruv said...

Hi,
I experimented some more, and came up with this recipe for Ginger Honey Cookies, which turn out to be quite crispy, but not as crumbly as I want them to. I may have to experiment some more.

Recipe:

1 egg
1/2 tsp Salt
200g Granulated Sugar
170g Butter
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
(2 1/2 cup)280g All-purpose Flour
(1 1/3tsp)20ml milk
(4tsp)60ml Honey
1 1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Ginger

Make as you would make any icebox cookie, and don't forget to pre-heat your oven to about 150C. Remove from icebox and bake immediately.