I fancy myself a baker and a chef. Though I don’t have a sheet of paper printed with the words declaring some degree I earned, I feel a magic in the kitchen. The oven beckons like the platter of cookies it will provide. My knowledge of food and it’s mysterious workings builds every time I succeed or fail in an attempt, and so my techniques are ever-changing as well. Recipes that were satisfactory a year ago no longer cut the cake, and I find myself making adjustments on even those posted to the blog (the ones supposedly “set in stone”).
The very scenario found itself playing out last Friday when I was whipping up a batch of Snazzy Spicy Gingersnaps for a Christmas party I would be attending with co-workers. Last year around the holiday season, I posted the original cookie recipe, and, at the time, felt it was noting short of perfect! Making it again last week, having tasted the formula for the first time in months, I found flaws. Though I took the cookies to the party (it’s not they tasted horrid, just needed some fine tuning), I vowed to correct the mistakes.
I did this morning. No doubt I will be re-designing the following recipe again this time next year, but for now I am satisfied .
(Revised) Gingerbread Cookies
2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, diced
scant tablespoon liquid sweetener (optional; used for cutting the intensity of the ginger)
½ cup garbanzo/chickpea flour
1 cup brown rice flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon curry
⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (can sub red pepper flakes)
⅛ teaspoon salt
couple grinds black pepper
2 tablespoons almond butter (preferably roasted)
scant ½ cup brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons water
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Have two cookie sheets ready, no need for greasing or parchment paper.
If using a liquid sweetener (such as agave), heat a small pan over medium heat. Place it and the ginger in the pan and cook, stirring often, until the ginger has absorbed all the sweetener. You have in effect, candied the ginger. This will cut down on the intense ginger flavor.
In a separate bowl, sift together the garbanzo and brown rice flour. Add the cinnamon, curry powder, cayenne, salt, and black pepper grinds. Combine all these dry ingredients.
Add the brown rice syrup, almond butter, and water. Make a dough in the bowl using a fork and/or (clean) bare hands. The dough will be squishy, and slightly sticky. If needed, add additional water.
Now roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, using extra brown rice flour as needed. Roll the dough to about ⅛ an inch thick (thinner for a cookie more akin to a gingersnap), and cut out shapes using cookies cutters. Re-roll the scraps as is necessary until all the dough is used. Place the unbaked cookies on your baking sheets, and space them according to how you want the finished product to be (the farther apart they are, the more crunchy they will be, and vise versa). For decorated cookies, press little goodies into the dough before baking. Healthy and refined sugar-free ideas include dried fruit (such as raisins or cranberries) and pomegranate seeds.
Bake one sheet of cookies at a time for best results, timed about 15 minutes. However, check them after ten minutes, especially if your dough was rolled thinner or you desire a softer cookie. Done cookies will be firm and, depending on the thickness of them, beginning to tan/brown on the edges. If you desire a softer cookie, pull the sheet out before they have a chance to tan. Baking times depend on a number of factors, including dough thickness, desired crunch/softness, and the size of the cookies being baked.
Cool on a wire rack (this lets them finish firming up), before serving. Store any uneaten cookies in an airtight container.
Makes 20-30 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.
What are your favorite Holiday cookies?