Thursday, December 11, 2008

GIANT GINGER COOKIES


I have been bombarded by work for the past couple of weeks, and the end is in sight, but there is a bit more to do before I get there. Being that the kitchen is where I do my work when I'm home, my chosen form of procrastination is baking. The fruits of this type of procrastination are well worth the distraction from seemingly more important tasks (such as take-home test completion). I want to mention that often I bake because I love to bake--not because I want to eat an entire batch of cookies. I'm not saying I don't pig out on goodies from time to time, but overall, I enjoy the very act of baking. I find it meditative; an exercise in concentration, perhaps? Also, I like the act of producing something from scratch. True creation.
In the spirit of the cold, I whipped up some giant ginger cookies, inspired by a cookbook birthday present from my parents, The Modern Baker.
I also want to mention that I find the end result is always best when I don't rush through any of the process--when I'm fully present for each and every step, the process is much more gratifying.

If you know ahead of time that you're going to bake these cookies, it's a good idea leave the sticks of butter out overnight so it will soften nicely.

3/4 c (1.5 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 c sugar
1 egg
2 c organic unbleached flour
1 c organic whole wheat flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
One inch piece of peeled fresh ginger, diced super finely
1 T ground ginger
1/4 c finely chopped candied ginger pieces

Preheat convection oven to 350 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix flours, baking soda + powder, salt, and ground ginger.
In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. When you notice the original color of the butter has lightened in shade, add the one egg. Continue to beat until fully incorporated. Stop mixer and add half the mixed dry ingredients. Turn mixer back on low for a bit, until mixture is smooth. Stop it again, and add the rest of the dry mixture, fresh ginger, and candied ginger pieces. Mix until incorporated. Use a rubber spatula or plastic bench scraper to make sure all the bits and pieces from the sides and bottom of the bowl get mixed in.
Using a #15 scoop, (a large serving spoon, or tablespoon will do, but you'll need to make the scoop HEAP), scoop level scoops of dough onto sheet pans. You should have enough dough for approximately 10 giant cookies, or many little ones. Flatten each scoop of dough on the tray so it will bake evenly, but don't make the cookie THIN. We want them to be GIANT! You may also sprinkle on a teensy bit of white sugar, but it's not entirely necessary.
Bake in oven for 12 minutes. Remove trays from oven, let sit on tray for a few minutes out of the oven, and then you can either move them to a cooling rack, or eat them!

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