Monday, July 02, 2007

Mondays with Maida - English Gingersnaps #1

Page 233 in the old book / page 257 in the new book

Well, I could hardly have been more surprised if Denny had deducted points for chocolate - the cookie panel (with Drucie subbing for Denny) bestowed a perfect 5.0 upon these very simple, very unchocolate gingersnaps. What made this perfect score even more befuddling was that I wasn't all that crazy about the cookies myself.

The recipe makes a relatively small number (22) of large cookies. The dough requires only a brief chilling time and the cookies are easy to make, so the entire process is not very time consuming. The dough is formed into balls which are coated in sugar before baking. The sugar coating splits open during baking forming the familiar crazed surface.

Ginger "snaps" doesn't seem quite the right name for these large semisoft cookies. They have the requisite spicy ginger flavor, but the texture is hardly a "snap". I was never a fan of gingersnaps until Nupur introduced me to Trader Joe's triple ginger snaps. I couldn't help but compare these cookies to the TJ's version. In my opinion, those yummy little TJ snaps would best these cookies hands down. It will be interesting to see how next week's cookie, a smaller, crisper version of this cookie with more ginger and some grated orange and lemon peel, will compare.

Here's the panel...

Suzanne: "I’m usually not a big fan of ginger, but I loved this cookie. My first impression was, 'wow, what a big cookie', but after my first bite, I wanted more then one cookie. The texture was just right, soft yet had some crunch to it. Rating - 5.0"

Laura: "Large, moist, chewy and delightfully gingery! These Ginger Snaps #1 are definitely a 5! Rating - 5.0"

Drucie: "These cookies were moist and chewy with a great flavor. I think that these are my favorite so far - even though they aren't chocolate! Rating - 5++" (I promised Drucie I'd include her ++)

Terri: "These are the best ginger snaps I've ever tasted! Just the right amount of ginger and spicy but sweet. Very moist and chewy texture. The sugar sprinkled on top is perfect. Rating - 5.0"

Overall rating by the panel - 5.0

Next week - English Gingersnaps #2

Nutrition Facts


Anonymous said...

Hey Cathy, Isn't it interesting how people respond so differently from what you expect? I love ginger. I'll eat just about anything with ginger in it. I wonder, as I often have with Maida's recipes, if the ratio of fat to dry ingredients in this case was the reason the cookies didn't "snap." I'm looking forward to next week's cookie.

Nupur said...

Look at those gorgeous cookies...the cracked sparkly top is beautiful, and very professional looking!
I love any cookie with ginger in it :) Maybe these should be called gingerbread cookies?

Rowena said...

Although I love gingerbread cookies, I'm not too keen on gingersnaps. Still, the mention of TJ's triple gingersnaps makes me think that there is hope here! Perhaps a different recipe (maybe next week's?) with chopped candied ginger might work. Now I'm curious, because I've got a lot of powdered ginger to use up before the expiration date!

Leigh said...

Yum. These look just like the ones I make with my grandmother's recipe. In defense of being non-chocolate, this is the only cookie I can bake which doesn't elicit the family motto - "No Chocolate, No Good."

Cathy said...

Hi Mari! Yes it is - just when you think you've got them all figured out! These cookies are actually semisoft by design, but I think you're right about the ratio of fat to dry ingredients. I think the size of the cookie is also a factor. Next week's cookies are intended to be crisp and have slightly less flour and are much smaller in size.

Hi Nupur! Thanks so much! I love ginger too, but for some reason don't feel the same (or I should say, didn't feel the same) about ginger snaps. That reminds me of my great aunt - she did not like ginger, but she did like gingerbread. However, her "gingerbread" didn't have ginger in it! :)

Hi Rowena! Yes, I'm curious to try tinkering with one of these recipes (probably next week's) as well - I love the idea of adding candied ginger and am curious about the effect of adding grated fresh ginger too.

Hi Leigh! Denny isn't a member of your family by any chance, is he? :)

Amy said...

Those are some gorgeous ginger cookies!! maybe not "snappy", but they definitely look yummy.

Aren't those TJ triple ginger good??? my friend gave me a tub, as I sadly dont live near a TJ :(

Cathy said...

Hi Amy - Thanks! Oh, those little TJ snaps are wonderful - especially dunked in something hot. I'm almost through my first tub of them - also given to me by a friend! I had been comparing notes with her about Trader Joe's and told her how good I thought the snaps were. She was also a fan of them and bought me some on her next visit. Fortunately, I live close enough to TJ's to go buy more - guess I'll be getting her a tub too!

Heleen said...

Hi Cathy,

Hope you don't mind another question! May I ask what you do with all the cookies you make? I'm getting to the poin where I want to try out more and more recipes, and end up with tons of cookies sitting around. I've been sending most of them to my husbands co-workers, family and neighbors, but there's only so much you can give away it seems! Just wondering what you[re doing with them.

Cathy said...

Hi Heleen! I bring all the cookies in to the office. I work in an office of about 40 within an agency of two to three hundred. I worried in the beginning that it would be too much, but I have never had trouble getting rid of them. The word has spread beyond my office that there are cookies and I've learned that quite a few people from outside my office are partaking in addition to my coworkers. I think the fact that I make them on a fairly predictable schedule has helped. If it's late in the afternoon and there are still quite a few left, I'll put a box of sandwich bags on the table next to the cookies to encourage people to take some home.

I'm sure there are other ways to give them away, but bringing them to the office is by far the easiest!

Heleen said...

Thanks Cathy, that does sound like the best option. My husband works in a rather large office as well, and he usually gets rid of the cookies quick also. I guess I just worried to much about it being 'weird' sending all those cookies all the time. I hear the 'I'm on a diet' from my family too much and I don't want dozens of cookies staring me in the face at home either. It's just too tempting ;o)

Anonymous said...

I've found exactly the same thing to be true. I make about a dozen different cookies at holiday time, and the ginger are invariably popular, even among die-hard chocolate officianados, those who are nuts for nuts, or the oatmeal or peanut-butter fans. Still and all, everyone seems to love gingersnaps, chewy or crisp, spicy and sweet...

Cathy said...

Hi Heleen - I think pigs will fly before people in your husband's office complain that he's bringing too many cookies! If you're worried that they'll think it's strange - you can tell him to tell them about your blog and your interest in trying lots of cookie recipes.

P.S. - if you ARE stuck with some cookies and you're worried about temptation, my trick is to stick them in the freezer. Of course, that only works for so long. You'll have to eat them at some point before you run out of space or they get too old, but in the meantime (if you're lucky) you may find that there's an occasion when you need a ready-made dessert or you want to give some as a gift.

Hi Julie! I'll have to remember that next December! I've had similar experience with sugar cookies - maybe at holiday-time people are nostalgic for the classics :)

Anonymous said...

Regarding your query on those Frascati cookies...I actually saw a short program on those gals and from what I witnessed, they added her bosom from the same dough, then popped her into the oven.

The whole thing just cracks me up. (As did the guy that hosted the program!) They make even BIGGER ones from the chest up. For who or what, I wouldn't know, but I'll have to see if there's a sagra dedicated just for her.