December 21, 2008

The Best Gingersnaps and a Note on Gift Wrapping

I first tried these gingersnaps about a year ago at a lunch at my friend Thom's house.  He invited a few friends over to his parents house for a lunch/ get together before the holidays and his mom had prepared tons of sweets, one of which was these gingersnaps.  I thought they were so good I asked for the recipe and unlike my mom (who doesn't really like sharing her recipes), his mom was more than happy to.  In fact, this recipe was selected, along with nine others to be included in a holiday magazine put out by one of the local grocery stores.

Aside from being delicious, these cookies are also really easy to make and always come out well.  Crunchy on the outside and coated with raw sugar and chewy in the middle with tiny pieces of crystalized ginger.  You really can't go wrong (er, except for the fact that they are made with Crisco... but they are so good...).  I actually can't stand crystalized ginger or any ginger for that matter by itself, but in these cookies, it's delicious.  

Here's a photograph of the boxes of cookies I sent my boyfriend's family for the holidays.  I included another picture in my post about madeleines.  Anyway, if you love baking, homemade cookies, candies or anything always makes a great holiday gift.  I think people, especially those who don't bake, love getting things like this because it shows you put a good amount of time, energy and thought into their gift.  It's also a lot more personal than just going to the store and buying something.  You can make them look really professional.

I used some old Sephora boxes my mom saved and covered the logo with these pretty Paris stick-on labels.  Then I lined the inside with a layer of festive tissue paper and some plastic wrap so the cookies would stay fresh.  Finally, I used colorful ribbon to seal and decorate the boxes.

Helen's Gingersnaps
From Helen Wall

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 finely chopped crystalized ginger
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter flavored solid shortening (I used Crisco even though it grosses me out*)
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses (I used dark)
1/2 cup raw sugar

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir in crystalized ginger and set aside. In a large mixer bowl beat sugar and shortening at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and molasses.  Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until just combined. Cover and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls, each about 1 tbsp. and roll in raw sugar.  Place 2 inches apart on parchment lined (lining them is not really necessary) baking sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees until cookies crack, about 10 minutes. Let cool and store in airtight containers.

*I feel like I should try these with regular butter to see if there is any difference because I really hate using something as unnatural as Crisco as an ingredient.  If anyone makes these using regular butter, let me know how they turn out!

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