Saturday, September 4, 2010

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

This recipe (taken from Martha Stewart's Cookies) is time consuming, due to several steps with chilling, so I recommend breaking it up between two days.  Make the dough the day before you intend to bake and then let it chill overnight.

The final cookie, however, is well worth the work.  These are perfect for Autumn and the holidays.  The molasses, nutmeg and fresh ginger give a robust flavor, plus large chunks of semi-sweet chocolate give these an added kick.  These taste great with a cup of coffee or Hazelnut Latte.

Recipe Makes 2 dozen
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon freshly grated peeled ginger
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water
7 ounces best-quality semi-sweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch chunks
1/4 cup granulated sugar (I always substitute with raw sugar, because I like the larger granules) 

1/ Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (if you are planning on chilling the dough overnight, you can hold on this step until you plan to bake).

2/ In a bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cocoa.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and fresh ginger on meium speed until lightened, about 4 minutes.  Add brown sugar; beat until combined.  Add molasses, beat until combined.

3/ In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in boiling water.  Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture.  Beat in baking soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture.  Mix in chocolate; turn onto plastic wrap.  Pat out to a 1-inch thickness; seal with wrap.  Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or overnight.

4/ Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls; place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.  Chill 20 minutes.  Roll in granulated sugar.  Bake until surfaces just begin to crack, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating halfway through.  Let cool 5 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.  Cookies are best the day they are made, but can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.

If you like this recipe you may like some of the other recipes from Martha Stewart's Cookies  I've tried:
-Double Chocolate Brownies
-Glazed Lemon Cookies
-Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies
-Giant Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Scallion & Sundried Tomato Cornbread Muffins

This past Sunday, I decided to make a bread side to serve for dinner with our left over lamb shank and potato tangine.  I took two recipes and combined them.  Originally I had set out to follow Giada's recipe for Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Corn Muffin - these looked amazing!!  But her version calls for sour cream and starts with cornbread mix and I new I wouldn't use the extra sour cream, plus I wanted to make these from scratch.  So I searched and found a Martha Stewart Recipe for Cornbread Muffins w/ Chives.  I took a little from Martha and a bit from Giada and created the recipe below.

The scallions and sundried tomatoes give a bold flavor.  So delicious you don't need butter and you will want to snack on these themselves, not just served as a compliment to your main course!

Makes 6 large, or 8 small

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
2 tablespoons sugar (preferrably in-the-raw)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons oil
1 large egg, whisked
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup sundried tomatos
1 large (or 2 small) garlic clove, diced

1/ Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Lightly grease 6 cups of a standard size muffin pan (or line with baking cups).  In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Make a well in center; stir in buttermilk, oil, egg, and scallions.  Fill muffin cups two-thirds full and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 10-13 minutes.

  I, as usual, didn't read directions properly and tried to make 12 muffins, when the recipe proportions were enough for only six.  They still came out delicious, but didn't quite fill the cups.  You can also bi-pass using liners and just spray your muffin pan w/ oil.

I love Giada and there are a few other book's of hers that I want to try: