I like ginger ale and gingersnaps extra spicy, so this cookie has ginger done three ways - ground, candied and fresh! They're not too sweet, and go very nicely with a hot cup of tea.
My friends love these cookies, so this is the most efficient process of making them that I've come up with.
Step 1: Ingredients
½ cup butter
1 cup packed golden or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup molasses
1 tsp vanilla
3-6 pieces candied ginger, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
pinch ground cardmom
2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
granulated sugar for rolling
Step 2: Measure Butter
I don't like measuring butter after it's softened like you're supposed to do for cookie recipes, when it's already marked out in handy increments on the wrapper. Take the butter out of the fridge and cut off ½ cup, which is a quarter of a brick, one stick, 113 grams or 4 oz, however you want to quantify it.
Step 3: Measure Sugar
Measuring brown sugar is my favourite part of cookie baking, next to sampling the result! Spoon sugar into your measuring cup, pressing down with the spoon as you go. When the cup is full, unmold the cute little cake of sugar into the bowl with the butter. If you packed it enough, the sugar won't fall apart when you do this.
Step 4: Cold Butter
Now that the butter and sugar are together, you'll have to wait for the butter to soften enough to be able to cream them. Cutting the block of butter into small pieces will help it warm up faster while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.
Step 5: Flour and Spices
Put the two cups of flour into another bowl, and stir in all the ground spices, baking soda, and salt. I like to save the cardamom seeds from the cardamom pods I get in expensive tea blends after I've drunk the tea, and grind them into whatever I'm baking.
Step 6: Ginger!
Chop the candied ginger and peel the bottom inch or inch and a half of the fresh ginger. Don't cut the peeled part off, you'll have something to hold on to when you grate it.
Step 7: Creaming
By now, your butter should have softened enough to mix. If not, take a tea break, or zap it in the microwave for a few seconds if you're impatient and using a microwave safe bowl.
Beat the butter and sugar together on low speed until thoroughly mixed. Then add the egg, molasses, and vanilla. Grate the ginger and add that too. Beat again until smooth and creamy.
Step 8: Putting It All Together
This is the part where I clean the beaters on the mixer because I won't be needing it anymore. When combining the wet and dry mixtures in any baking, you don't want to overmix it because that will develop the gluten in the flour and make your baked goods tough. I'm mixing this with a spatula.
Add half the flour mixture and the chopped ginger to the creamed mixture. Stir just until mixed. Add the rest of the flour and stir just until mixed. A little bit of dry stuff around the edges is ok.
Step 9: Rolling
Now, set up a little manufacturing station with your dough, a saucer of sugar, and your baking sheet. I found that using parchment on the baking sheet makes for chewy cookies. Baking them directly on the greased sheet results in crisp cookies. I like my cookies crisp on the outside and chewy inside, so I will be baking them on parchment.
Preheat your oven to 350ºF now, and start rolling the dough into 1" balls. I like making the cookies small so I can eat more of them.
I do most of the forming with the teaspoons to avoid handling the dough too much. Sorry there aren't more pictures of this process, but it's a two-handed job. What I do is scoop up a small lump of dough with one spoon, and then scrape it into the other spoon. Scrape it back into the first spoon. Repeat this a few times until the lump of dough is rounder and more compressed. Then I give it a quick roll between my hands and drop it into the dish of sugar. Roll it in the sugar until all sides are covered, and place on the cookie sheet.
If you stagger the lines of cookies, you can fit more of them on the sheet.
Keep on rolling cookies until the oven is ready. After I put the sheet in, I start putting the cookies-in-waiting on a plate.
Step 10: Bake
Bake for 8-10 minutes. When you take the cookies out, they will be puffy, but they will flatten when they cool. While they are baking, finish rolling the rest of the dough.
Ideally, you should have two cookie sheets, so the next one will loaded with cookies and ready to go in the oven by the time the first one is done. I only have one sheet, so I move all the cookies off it after a minute or two, and then let the sheet cool before putting on the next batch of cookies. You don't have to let the sheet cool all the way - if you can pick up the sheet with your bare hands then it's ready for more cookies.
Step 11: Enjoy!
You're done! This recipe makes about 60 cookies.
These cookies travel very well, so share them with your friends. Or don't, and keep them all for your teatime.