Shall we tally up? Let’s see. The past eight days of pastry school have yielded me:
- 4 apple custard tartlettes
- 8 vanilla crescent cookies
- 1 tarte aux noix
- 6 shortbread cookies with candied citrus zest
- 1 pear tart with almond cream
- one dozen homemade fig newton cookies
- 1 banana cream tart
- 4 lemon meringue tartlettes
- 6 Scandanavian butter cookies
- 1 caramelized onion tart
- 1 cherry clafoutis
- 1 chocolate ganache tart
- 8 fresh fruit tartlettes
- one dozen gingersnaps
- 1 baked apricot tart
- 1 chocolate Bavarian tart
Um, yes. That’s twenty-four tarts and forty-four cookies. In my first week and a half as a pastry babe. Do you even know how much sugar I went through this week? Do you even know? How many pounds of butter? Do you know how hard it was, how much I toiled to bake all of these delicious, delicious things? These twenty-four tarts and forty-four cookies? …WELL? DO YOU?
Just kidding. I love my life.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “But Molly, WHAT in the name of Santa Claus do you DO with so many sweets?” Well, dear reader, I’ll tell you. I eat them.
…Not really. Gotcha again.
While the thought of ingesting one billion pounds of buttered sugar does sound enticing, I thought I’d do well to keep my arteries clear(ish) for now, so I’ve been pawning off my sixty-eight treats to friends. And classmates. …And school staff and homeless guys and fellow subway riders. Really anyone who looks like they could use a cookie or two. Could you use a cookie or two?
Here, try one. Or two. I don’t know. Start your own tally.
From the French Culinary Institute, Classic Pastry Arts Program, Unit 1
Although I’m swimming in cookie recipes these days, this one seemed the most seasonally appropriate… they’re also just really good. They’re gingery and snappy and full of warm, winterish, gingery snappiness. I hear Santa likes them.
- 150 grams butter
- 400 grams white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 160 mL molasses
- 20 mL white vinegar
- 525 grams white bread flour
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- extra sugar, for rolling
*Note: I realize this recipe gives amounts in metric units. I’m sorry about that. However, I’ve found it extremely useful to weigh out ingredients while baking – and it’s much less of a pain than it sounds. Buy a cheap kitchen scale and give it a try. If you don’t feel like scales are your thing but still really want to make these, let me know – I’ll do my best to convert it to the standard American measurements for you.
In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the molasses and the vinegar slowly, to avoid separating the mixture.
Sift together the dry ingredients, and add them all at once to the creamed butter mixture. Mix just to combine – try not to overwork the dough.
Form the dough into a log, wrap it in parchment and chill it until firm. Once firm, divide the dough into 50 small, equal portions (about 15 grams per cookie), and roll the pieces of dough into balls. Dredge the raw cookies in sugar, and place them on a parchment-lined cookie pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes. If you like chewier gingersnaps, take them out closer to 7 minutes, when the cookies are just browning. For snappier snaps, leave them in a bit longer. The cookies will spread in the oven, the sugar crust will crack, leaving behind a map of gorgeous cookie crevices, and your whole kitchen will smell like the holidays. Enjoy.
Makes 50 gingersnaps.