There’s been a lot of creative stuffs going on at Chez Mantchev… the bit I can actually share with you is my recipe for fantastically ginger cookies.
(Between friends, I refer to these as Boozy Woozy Timey Wimey cookies, because I started making them for a friend I gifted with a TARDIS cookie jar. Plus, ginger joke!)
The recipe, adapted from The Barefoot Contessa’s Ultimate Ginger Cookie is as follows:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed (I use light brown, because that’s what we have in the house)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1 extra-large egg, at room temperature (No one is quite sure what an “egg-stra large” egg is, so don’t worry too much about the size of your eggs, if you know what I mean)
1/2 cup chopped crystallized and/or candied ginger (the candied ginger from Trader Joe’s is fantastic) set to soak in your favorite liquor (I use warm bourbon) for at least an hour, then drained.
OPTIONAL: Up to 2 Tbsp. of room temperature butter, to help bring the dough together.
Raw sugar, for rolling the cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil, and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the egg, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined. Add butter here, if needed.
IMPORTANT: I almost always let the dough sit for at least a day — wrapped in parchment paper and stuck it in a Ziplock — to let the flavors mellow.
Scoop the dough with 2 spoons or a small cookie scoop. With your hands, roll each cookie into a 1 3/4-inch ball and then flatten them lightly with your fingers. Press both sides of each cookie in raw sugar and place them on the sheet pans. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on the top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Note! 1) You can make the cookies smaller; just keep an eye on them from the 9 minute mark on, pulling them out when they start to crackle. 2) These store well, travel well (great for holiday care packages!) and the dough just gets better the longer it sits in the refrigerator. 3) I have also been known to sandwich homemade vanilla ice cream between two of them for the Best Ice Cream Sandwich EVER:
4) As for the strained ginger booze, I have added it to holiday drinks and hot tea, with great results, and 5) I highly advise you against doubling this recipe unless you want to kill your mixer. My poor KitchenAid nearly died trying to bring the dough together this year.