This weekend I finally got around to scratching my holiday baking itch. My kitchen isn't exactly baking-friendly so that I had an itch at all was remarkable. The oven is not quite full-size, has only ever had one rack, and is prone to shut off randomly and without warning. The total counter space is the equivalent of one cookie sheet. [This is a pretty typical New York apartment kitchen set-up and those of us motivated enough usually find a way to coax deliciousness out of these tiny spaces.] I knew I'd probably only have the time and patience for one cookie recipe, so I decided to choose a cookie I love. "Crunchy," "sweet," and "spicy," are three of my favorite food attributes so of course I love gingersnaps and those are what I made. The original recipe is Nick Malgieri's Three-Way Gingersnaps. I couldn't find my stash of crystallized ginger (the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons finely chopped), so I decided to skip it and make mine Two-Way Gingersnaps. If anything, the crystallized ginger might add some more sweetness—these are still gingery enough to please any ginger lover. I also used salted butter because doesn't everything taste better with a little more salt? Feel free to use unsalted butter if you prefer. I brought some into the office today and they are almost all gone, so I think it's safe to say that these are also Serious Eats approved.
Adapted from The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri.
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons honey
Raw sugar for coating the cookies
2 or 3 cookie sheets or jelly-roll pans lined with parchment or foil
1. Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 325ºF. If you only have one oven rack like me, set it in the middle of your oven.
2. Mix the flour with the ground ginger, baking soda, and salt.
3. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until lightened, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and continue beating until smooth.
4. Decrease the mixer speed to low and beat in half the flour mixture. Stop and scrape down the bowl and paddle.
5. Beat in the grated ginger and the honey. After they are incorporated, beat in the remaining flour mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a large rubber spatula to give a final mixing to the dough.
6. Roll 1/2 tablespoon of the dough between the palms of your hands to make a little sphere, then roll it in a shallow bowl of raw sugar. Place it on one of the prepared pans. Continue with the remaining dough, keeping the subsequent cookies about 2 inches apart on all sides.
7. Bake the gingersnaps until they spread and become deep golden, 15 to 20 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, place the pan from the lower rack on the upper one and vice versa, turning the pans from back to front at the same time. If you know that your oven gives off strong bottom heat, stack the pan on the lower rack on top of a second one for insulation. If you're working with only one rack, just turn your pan from back to front after the first 10 minutes.
8. Slide the papers off the pans to cool the cookies. If you have only one more pan of gingersnaps to bake, readjust one of the racks to the middle level for baking.
"So, you, home cooks, even you home cooks with access only to a Safeway or Kroger, a 5-by-4-foot kitchen in a fifth floor walk up and an hour’s spare time between work, sleep, errands, kids, laundry and bill paying: Buy a duck breast and pack it in kosher salt and refrigerate it for a day and then rinse it off and enfold it in cheesecloth (or anything that can breath, a clean handkerchief will do in a pinch) and let it dry for a week on a rack on the counter or dangling from a string—then, slice it and taste. Suddenly you will see. Buy a side of salmon—no, buy a piece of salmon—pack it in an equal mixture of salt and sugar and some citrus zest or fennel, wrap it in foil for 24 hours, rinse it and taste a paper thin slice. A cooking miracle."
I remember this! Do you? [via Janelle]
After Thanksgiving, I had an extra bag of cranberries in my fridge and a strong hankering for some apple pie. I've had plenty of apple cranberry crumble in my time, but it was time to bring the ingredients together in a pie. My first impulse was to just throw some cranberries in along with the apples, but I decided to do a recipe search and found Cranberry-ribbon Apple Pie which calls for cooking and cooling the cranberries before adding them to the pie. This sounded like a safe bet for my first apple cranberry pie. I've adapted the recipe below. I didn't have any cranberry juice on hand, so I just used water. I also cut back on the total sugar by 1/2 cup (reflected below). I might even cut it back more next because I appreciate a tart bite. I'd recommend adjusting the amount of sugar according to your own preference. I've yet to invest the time and energy in mastering pie crust dough, so use your favorite tried-and-true pie crust dough recipe (this one is supposed to be a dream), or cheat like me and use store-bought crusts--obviously not as delicious as homemade, but good enough.
Cranberry Apple PieIngredients
Stir 1/2 cup sugar and juice (or water) in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cranberries; bring to simmer. Reduce heat; simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 25 minutes. Cool.
Toss all apples, flour, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl to blend.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch deep-dish glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Spread cranberry mixture over crust bottom. Top with apple mixture; dot with butter. Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 13-inch round; drape over apples. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Press crust edges together to seal; crimp. Cut 1-inch hole in center. Brush crust with milk. Mix remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and pinch of cinnamon in small bowl; sprinkle over crust.
Bake pie 15 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 375°F and bake until crust is golden, about 50 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool at least 2 hours. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.
I appreciate the juxtaposition of Buddha, lard, and Christmas trees.
I wish more food blogs read like this:
Serious Eats turned 2 yesterday. It's been a wild, fulfilling, exhausting, rewarding, and delicious ride. Happy blogiversary, Serious Eats. Here's to many more!
P.S. I think I have a pizza hangover.