Catching up over a ginger cookie sandwich
February 15, 2011 § 2 Comments
I haven’t been in the kitchen much thèse days. There are a thousand reasons why but the main one is that I feel like I am doing a thousand things at once—going to work, training for a marathon, planning vacations, writing in several different publications (like this) and constantly switching the language on my computer while becoming increasingly frustrated that my English keyboard doesn’t have accent buttons and my French spell-check corrects my English words and automatically adds accents to words like “these.” I made whole-wheat almond scones because their picture looked almost exactly like the almond scones I used to love (and still crave) from Martha’s Coffee, and then decided I couldn’t eat any, and then proceeded to completely forget about them until my dad had eaten them all for breakfast. So when I made these ginger sandwich cookies, I stashed a couple of them in the fridge for their photoshoot, which I finally got around to after a week of chocolate tastings, cook showcases, bakery anniversary parties and street food festivals.
To say I have two celeb-chef crushes would be a bit misleading as a.) They are both pastry chefs and b.) I have never seen them on TV yelling at a contestant. One of them is Emily Luchetti, former pastry-chef at Stars and current pastry-chef at Farallon — which has a wonderful $6 appetizers before 7 p.m. bar deal by the way — who made a dinosaur themed birthday cake for me once, complete with dinosaur sugar cookies walking across the top. Queue childlike adoration here. The other is William Werner, the man behind the Tell Tale Preserve Company, who will be opening a shop on Maiden Lane here in San Francisco later this spring. Unfortunately, I brought home a mystery jar from him the other day at work and opened it late Saturday night…hmm incredibly sweet vanilla spread?
My mom and I hung around the kitchen counter for a bit, poking spoons into the glass jar and trying to figure out what to do with it. The sweetness definitely needed something with bite to counteract it. So after a bit of rummaging around in the Stars Desserts cookbook, we came up with gingersnaps. Therein came the second perplexing situation: figuring that the spread had more than enough sugar, I decided the cookies should be just barely sweet. I halved the sugar in the recipe — white and brown — and added a generous amount of chopped, uncrystallized ginger, and made teaspoon-sized gingersnaps that were…not at all lacking in sweetness. I couldn’t even imagine twice the amount of sugar going in them. Emily, what gives?
Anyway, presenting spicy gingersnap sandwiches with vanilla custard. Please forgive the free-flowing, information-spewing text. I think it’s time for me to start keeping a journal again, it seems I am incapable of reflective thought without one.
Adapted from Classic Stars Desserts
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 firmly packed brown sugar
8 ounces (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/3 cup dark molasses
generous amount of chopped ginger (use fresh if you have it)
In a bowl, stir together the flour, spices, baking soda, salt and pepper. Set aside. Combine the sugars and butter in a mixing bowl and cream until smooth. Add the egg and beat until mixed then beat in the molasses. Add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Use a teaspoon to shape each cookie and flatten the balls slightly on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes for chewier cookies and 14 minutes for crisp cookies. Let cool, then sandwich together with your favorite filling (if you like).