I have to admit something: I Google-imaged this recipe.
It really bothers me when recipes don’t have photos. I just need to know what I’m working toward. Sadly not every recipe in this recipe book has photos and this is one of those unfortunate recipes.
I mean maybe it’s not unfortunate, maybe they’re delicious. (I’m hoping they’re delicious because I’d like to use the final product as a silent auction item.)
And I had an inkling that these were essentially ginger snaps but then I got worried that maybe a ginger crackle is a completely different beast than a ginger snap. What if it’s less snap and more crackle. And where does pop come in?
(Pretty proud of that Rice Krispies joke, folks. Please pity laugh for me.)
But Google-image I did, and I’m fairly certain a snap is the same as a crackle. (It’s taking everything in me not to make another Rice Krispies joke.)
So here’s the thing about this whole baking-and-blogging thing. It takes up a lot of time. It’s hard to get lost in a recipe when I have to keep stopping and snapping photos and writing this down, so this time I tried to just limit it to snapping a few photos so I could actually enjoy the process a bit more. And it worked!
Also it was kind of hard to bake and type with a recipe that requires hands-on mixing.
But I need to back up, I started with a whole chunk of ginger root.
I felt confident buying ginger in the store even though I think I’ve maybe bought it once before, but when I got home, my confidence faltered and my insecurities started flooding in. Suddenly I had this fear that I did not buy ginger but bought something else entirely.
Like that one time I was looking for mint for mojitos and I found an unmarked herb that kind of looked like mint and it smelled familiar, and when I brought it up to the cash register and asked the cashier if that was in fact mint, he looked at me like I was an idiot and said it was cilantro.
So I had similar fears when it came to this ginger root. But another Google-imaging set my mind at ease and I measured out a 4 cm piece.
Now the thing about this specificity is it’s not that specific. By the time I grated out the ginger (which was a whole other thing), I was supposed to have 2 heaping teaspoons but I maybe got one heaping teaspoon, so I tried to grate some more. I still didn’t have enough, so I grated a bit more. Four centimetres is a fine measurement, but what’s the width supposed to be? is it a 4×4 piece? Mine was more of a 4×2 piece. Should it have been 4×6 cm? For all your precision, Mary and Paul, you were pretty vague on this one.
And then the grating. It said to finely grate the ginger and so I used my fine grater until about halfway through, when I noticed the diminutive amount of grated ginger in the bowl, I thought maybe the fine grater is only a zester and isn’t actually for grating, so I switched to the bigger grater for the second go but then ended up with big chunks and all I could think was someone biting down on a cookie and ending up with a tsunami of ginger flavour in their mouth. As I melted the ginger with the molasses (or “black treacle,” which is also a whole other story) and butter, I did scoop out some larger pieces to save whoever buys these cookies from a ginger-attack.
Now, for the molasses.
When I first got this recipe book and was flipping through, the term “black treacle” truly scared me. It sounds like some kind of disease that wiped out half the European population in the Middle Ages. (Or whatever the statistic is of the Black Plague. I’m not great at history.) But a quick Google (thank you, Google) told me that black treacle and molasses are the essentially same thing.
I’ve made ginger molasses cookies before (a.k.a. ginger snaps, as I’ve mentioned), and I just happened to have molasses in my cupboard. I thought I was so prepared just having to buy ginger root. And then I got home and started grating and noticed that my molasses was very expired. So I had to make a choice, give up or go to the grocery store which is a not-so-inconvenient three-minute drive away. So off to the store I went. (And before you judge me for not walking to the store, that’s a half-hour round-trip journey. At least. No thank you.)
And what did I find? Not just molasses. Fancy molasses.
Not sure what makes it fancy, but it was on sale, so that’s the one I got.
After pouring it in (using the trick of a wet bowl to keep it from being overly sticky when I poured it out), I got sifting.
Flour, ginger, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Now, I was 95.7% sure that bicarbonate of soda was baking soda. I mean, what else could it be? Baking powder is baking powder. Bicarbonate of soda must be baking soda. I was about to Google it to confirm when I noticed the French translation on the box. Thank you, high school French for helping me understand that “bicarbonate de soude” is “bicarbonate of soda.”
Merci beaucoup, as they say.
So I melted together that other stuff and I had to wait around for it to cool. And I started to get impatient. All the best bakes happen when you get impatient right?
I had sifted my dry ingredients, I had beaten my single room temperature egg, and I had even made my well:
Doesn’t it look well?
(When I get impatient, I get punny.)
I knew I had to wait for it to cool down until “just warm” or whatever, but I also wanted to get this thing finished so I could relax a bit and still enjoy a partial evening on the couch.
As I waited, I took a photo of the melted mixture:
And I took a photo of the reality behind the baking:
Does anyone else’s kitchen look like this when they bake? It doesn’t help that my dishwasher was running and I couldn’t load as I baked. It further doesn’t help that my dishwasher is an apartment-sized dishwasher and requires several loads to every one regular load of a full-size dishwasher. Most of the time it’s totally fine. I don’t need a family-size dishwasher. But when I bake or cook, I could definitely use one.
Again, it’s fine.
Just on baking nights, things get a little hectic.
I couldn’t wait anymore, so I dumped the egg in:
And right after that dumped in the probably-not-cool-enough mixture and then immediately worried that I had somehow scrambled the eggs with the heat from the melted mixture.
I tried to mix the dough quickly to avoid any scrambling and then the wooden spoon wasn’t doing the trick to fully mix it all so I skipped ahead to the next step of mixing with my hands and as a result, I stopped taking photos. Not that this blog post has been a particularly photo-heavy one (it hasn’t), but I couldn’t get any photos of the mixing.
So here’s the formed cookies, awaiting their oven-ing:
The thing about this recipe is it says to sprinkle sugar on top of the cookies, but we all know that’s not how you make ginger snaps (sorry, ginger crackles). Everyone knows you roll the ball in sugar. I did take a cue from the recipe and roll them in cinnamon sugar, though not the cinnamon sugar Mary and Paul suggest.
They want you to put cinnamon and sugar and a cinnamon stick in a container for several days to infuse the sugar.
Who has time for that? Who has the organization to pre-plan for that? Not me, clearly. You’ve seen my kitchen now. You know the truth.
You want to know what is quite relaxing though? Forming cookie dough balls. The dough didn’t quite form together so after I split them up into the smaller balls, I re-rolled them to make sure they were fully mixed and awaiting a slightly gooey-centred texture. And it was rather calming.
In case you’re at all curious, here are the cookie balls, pre-sugar and pre-re-rolling:
The recipe said there should be 25 cookies, but I lost count after that, so I think there’s about 30. I could probably count the number of cookie dough balls in the last two photos and let you know, but let’s pretend this is the interactive part of the blog post where you count it yourself and comment on the bottom the number of cookies I made.
Also “25” is a weird number of cookies to make. You’d think they’d do 24 so they could say “two dozen.” But nope. Twenty-five cookies.
I may put two dozen cookies into the silent auction and leave a few aside as tasters. I think that would be best for everyone, specifically for me because I love this kind of cookie.
Don’t worry, I will take a bite of one this evening and let you know how it tastes. And you’ll have to tune in next time for an update if they sold at the silent auction or if I had to take them home in shame. (Or I’ll forget and you’ll never know.)
Yowza that is some noticeable ginger! But it’s really good. Dang I’ve been making ginger snaps wrong this whole time?
Or maybe it’s just that I’ve been making ginger snaps instead of ginger crackles.
I wonder if there is such a thing as a ginger pop*.
*A solid callback to the Rice Krispies joke. You’re welcome.