Since I moved to Southern California, autumn marks the beginning of the baking season in my house. A few days before Halloween, my son Tomás Eugenio who is almost 7 years old and I, cut and bake cookies with Halloween shapes: pumpkins, ghosts, witch’s hats, bats… After that, we start baking all the holiday goodies: cookies and breads and cakes. First for Thanksgiving and then, finally, for Christmas.
Molasses, brown sugar, rum and all the spices: cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, all those aromas perfume the air. That smell, combined with the fact that we give away cookies and breads and cakes to our family and friends, makes baking season the best season ever…
This year baking season started a little bit earlier. In the middle of September I flew to Phoenix, Arizona to join and hug Alberto and María Antonia. Alberto is the Godfather of my children, Andrés Ignacio and Tomás Eugenio. He and his wife were attending the Google Zeitgeist Americas 2010 in Scottsdale, where Alberto presented his Alcatraz Project.
So, I baked my double ginger snaps and packed a few tins for my good friends and also to send some to my friends in Caracas. I saved one tin and sent it to Tijuana to pamper my girlfriend Orquídea Sánchez, the other side of the border…
I got this recipe from Williams-Sonoma‘s website and now they are a staple in my kitchen. They are really spicy and kind of hot, not only because of the double ginger —powdered and crystallized— but because of the white pepper.
This is not a recipe to make in a hurry. You have to bake the pecans and finely chop the crystallized ginger. You have to refrigerate the dough for at least four hours before baking. I usually double the recipe and save the dough up to 10 days in the refrigerator and bake the cookies as desired. Once I bake the cookies I save them in an air tight container up to month. That is what I do the weekend after Thanksgiving, when we triple the recipe and bake our cookies for the rest of the holidays.
Double ginger snaps | To make 48 cookies
1 1/4 cups pecans
14 Tbs. (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 extra-large egg
1/2 cup dark molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 Tbs. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool, chop coarsely and set aside. In a bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt and white pepper.
In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter with the sugar until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat for 5 minutes. Add the molasses and continue beating to combine. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until well mixed, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the crystallized ginger and nuts until evenly distributed.
Lightly flour a work surface. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Form each portion into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours .
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut each log into slices 1/8 inch thick. Arrange the slices on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a rack and let cool.
To print the recipe click here.0