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10 December 2011 @ 12:20 pm
It's a day for cooking cookies  
As my white elephant gift for a party tomorrow I decided I'd make cookies, in part because I ADORE these cookies and in part because I'm tired of bringing 'amusing' gifts to white elephant exchanges.  Besides, these are tasty.

So, in between finishing up this damn prospectus that has been my procrastination piece for like this entire semester, I am making cookies.

And I'm saving the recipe here because I have to search every frigging year for it.

Five-Spice Gingersnaps


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder [I usually use about 2 1/2 teaspoons]
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger [I double this]
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup [Karo syrup works too, and I have also used molasses for darker cookies]
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg

Special equipment: parchment paper; a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter; a piping tip with a 1/4-inch plain round opening (if making cookies into ornaments); pastry bags or several small heavy-duty sealable plastic bags (optional)

Garnish: decorative icing technique to get that really pretty red & white.

Make dough:
Whisk together flour, five-spice powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Pulse ginger with 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor until finely ground. [I usually just chop ginger with sugar on a cutting board. It takes arm strength and a heavy knife, but my food processor always gets clogged with the ginger.]

Add syrup, butter, egg, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar to processor and blend until mixture is thick and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add flour mixture and pulse [mixing with fork is totally fine] just until a dough forms. Form dough into a disk and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 8 hours to allow flavors to develop.

Bake and ice cookies:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Quarter dough. Keeping remaining 3 pieces wrapped in plastic wrap and chilled, roll out 1 piece of dough on a lightly floured sheet of wax paper with a lightly floured rolling pin to 3/4 inch thick. [I thin these cookies out much thinner - probably rolled out to like 1/4 inch] (If dough becomes too soft to roll out, chill on wax paper until firm.) Cut out rounds with cutter and transfer to 1 lined baking sheet, arranging cookies about 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies until slightly puffed and a shade darker, 10 to 12 minutes. [I usually end up pulling them out at 8 min to keep a little more of the chewyness]. Cool 5 minutes on sheet. If desired, make holes with piping tip near edges to hang cookies, then transfer cookies (still on parchment) to a rack to cool completely. (Cookies will flatten slightly as they cool.)

While first batch is baking, roll out and cut another batch, arranging cookies on second lined sheet. Bake in same manner, then gather scraps and chill until dough is firm enough to reroll, 15 to 20 minutes. Make more cookies with scraps (reroll scraps only once) and remaining pieces of dough, cooling sheets and lining them with fresh parchment before using.

If using icing and coloring it, transfer small batches of icing to small bowls, 1 for each color, and tint with food coloring. Spoon each color of icing into a separate pastry bag, pressing out excess air. Twist bag firmly just above icing, then decoratively pipe icing onto cookies. Let icing dry completely (about 1 hour, depending on humidity) before serving or storing cookies.

Gourmet' notes:
•Cookies are best when dough is chilled 8 hours to allow flavors to develop, but if you're in a hurry, dough can be chilled just 2 hours. Dough can be chilled up to 3 days.
•Using a pastry bag fitted with a piping tip results in cleaner lines of icing, but you can use small sealable plastic bags. Spoon each color of icing into a separate sealable bag, pressing out excess air, and snip an 3/4-inch opening in 1 bottom corner of each bag.
•Cookies keep, layered between sheets of parchment if iced, in an airtight container at room temperature 5 days. [UM, WAY longer than 5 days - they're great for at least 10 days]

- other icing instructions and recipe for doing the same kind of design

also posted to dreamwidth | you can reply here or there | um, but don't worry, i'm still an lj girl
twilightofmagictwilightofmagic on December 10th, 2011 06:36 pm (UTC)
I'd like to snag this recipe if you don't mind, Kate. Sound delish. Do you know how to do the decoration in the illustration? Is it two layers of colour and drag a knife through that exposes the second colour? Do they not bleed together?
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on December 10th, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC)
Of course you can dear lady! It's from gourmet magazine so it's not really mine -- though i will say having cooked them for many years that i double the ginger and double the 5-spice, because I adore *spicy* cookies.

as for the frosting, i haven't ever been able to achieve that effect... but here is a tutorial that ostensibly explains how you do it:

(no subject) - shehasathree on December 10th, 2011 10:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on December 11th, 2011 01:03 am (UTC)
:D i wish mine came out that pretty - that's totally the magazine image. but this year i'm going to try to do the icing that way, so will report back with pics!
littleotter73littleotter73 on December 10th, 2011 10:25 pm (UTC)
What a great idea for a white elephant gift! :)

MMmm... more spicy cookies. I know I will be making ginger bread and Shrewsbury Cakes, to fill in the spice quotient. Then the kids and I will make peppermint bark (they can pound the bags of candy canes while I melt white and dark chocolate. Oh I am looking forward to baking! Yes I am!

I might have to make these, but sadly I don't have a spice grinder or a food processor (I suck). Maybe I can just use powdered ginger. In the ingredients list, did you already account for the doubling of the spices or not?
my monkied brain: _xmas girlkatekat1010 on December 11th, 2011 01:18 am (UTC)
oh! your comment make me realize i should go back and edit the recipe - my food processor is never strong enough to work the ginger, so i end up hand chopping the whole thing anyway. and the current ingredient list doesn't include doubling the spices at the moment, though I'll go annotate that too!

and it's funny but this particular party's white elephant gifts are amusing adult type things, or really nice hand made things (like home made vanilla vodka and stuff like that).
i will write in words of fireposhlil on December 11th, 2011 07:16 pm (UTC)
Oh thank you for sharing this! That's awesome, and different enough to my own ginger cookies to tempt me! And that icing technique looks brill! (Lol to the storing. Last year we kept my ginger cookies in a container for three weeks and they were totally fine. Though I am very surprised they lasted that long...)