Thursday, August 20, 2009

Adventures in Gingersnap Land

I usually keep all the food talk on the other blog but sometimes, there's something you've just got to share. If you are a reader of Lucy's Kitchen, you may have noticed that I posted a recipe for gingersnaps this morning. The readers over there only got to see the recipe and the final product of gingersnap cookies. What you get to see is the adventure that ensued along the way.

Last summer, I spent three and a half weeks with my sister and her hubby as they welcomed their first child into their home. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, they lived in a little village at that time, right across from the beauty that is a chocolate factory. You can best believe that me and that chocolate factory became good friends. One of my favourite treats from there were Chocolate Covered Gingersnaps. Gingersnaps are my favourite cookies, chocolate is my favourite everything, and the combo is killer.

I guess because it's been a whole year since I've had a chance to visit this shop (my sister, hubby and nephew moved to a different location shortly after my visit), I have started dreaming about these treats ... wishing my taste buds could experience them once more.

These dreams, combined with the fact that I'm preparing for my BFF's homecoming after her year long adventure in Scotland by compiling a host of welcome home goodies that will leave her thinking "Why did I ever leave this place?", (shh, don't tell her - except she'll know since she reads my blog - rats) led me to set out in an attempt to re-create these delicious chocolate covered yummys at home.

Well, my pretties. Let me tell you, this was an adventure. All was well as I began creating the recipe I had adapted from numerous sources (Side note: Despite the fact that gingersnaps are on the top of my list I have never made them. People always make them for me). So, like always, I searched my recipe books and the internet and came up with something that I thought sounded reasonable.

I started by boiling the molasses, adding the sugar, egg and baking soda. All was well with the world.

Then I tried to mix the dry ingredients together. I could not open the cinnamon jar. When it's humid here, it expands and makes it impossible to open it. I should have stopped right there. But, instead I pressed on. Hence the fact that my posted recipe calls for nutmeg rather than cinnamon (although I must say - it added a nice flavour).

Oh, well, I thought. Cinnamon or no cinnamon, the show must go on. I stirred the dry ingredients into the wet and was left with gingersnap soup.

Seriously, this stuff was the consistency of cake mix. There is no way I was going to be able to shape cookies out of this. I kept adding flour until finally the dough came to a consistency that somewhat - I emphasize, somewhat - resembled cookie dough. It was at this point that I thought I had failed. (I ended up adding more than double the original amount of flour I had thought I would need - what was I thinking?)

But wait! There was still hope. I decided to transfer the dough into a pie pan thinking that if I couldn't make chocolate covered gingersnap cookies I would make chocolate covered gingersnap pie. You like the way I think, don't ya? So I got the dough into the pie plate, looked at it and thought, "No, Lucy. You are NOT a quitter. You're not giving up just yet". I put the cookie dough/soup filled pie plate into the fridge and decided to take a little break from the cookie baking process to clear my head.

Much to my pleasant surprise, when I returned an hour later, my gingersnap cookie dough/soup had transformed into full-fledged gingersnap cookie dough. The mission was saved! Or so I thought. I broke off a portion of the dough and began attempting to roll it out on a slightly floured surface so I could get it into shapes. Oh, did I forget to mention that the chocolate covered gingersnaps from the chocolate factory were heart shaped? Well, they were. And so mine also had to be heart shaped. They could be no other shape. Duh.

So, I tried rolling, I tried patting and I tried smooshing. I was left with a huge mess and a big glob of dough all over my hands, face, cupboards, shorts, shirt ... you get the picture. You see, the chilled dough was great but as I worked with it on the counter it seemed to get un-chilled, causing problems to ensue. I attempted to clear out my fridge so I could climb on in and work with the dough there, but that just didn't work. Then I had an idea. I'll punch out the hearts on the silicone baking sheet, then I won't have to worry about picking them up and moving them. Fail. Every time I punched a stupid little heart and tried to remove the excess dough surrounding it I was left with a blob of poop coloured cookie dough.

For every one heart shaped cookie that looked decent, there were five or six that I had to smoosh up and cut again. I finally discovered that rolling them in flour was not the key. The secret was in the sugar. So, each little piece of dough I broke off from the main chunk was rolled in granulated sugar, flattened with the palm of my hand and shaped into a cutsie little heart. Finally, after much frustration, I somehow managed to fill the entire cookie sheet with tiny little heart cookies. Whoo hoo! Success.

So, I baked them and when they came out, they looked like heart blobs. No longer cute little hearts. Just fat blobs that sometimes resembled a heart. I guess I forgot that cookies expand and change shape in the oven. But, did I give up? Of course not ... I STILL kept trying to cut them into hearts. I even tried making some into bigger hearts but let's not even go there. I ended up with two pans worth of "heart" shaped cookies before I finally gave up on the cookie cutters. To put this in perspective, I had been working on these cookies for about three hours by this point. But they HAD to be hearts, don't you get it?

Finally, after two baking sheets of hearts and much frustration, I gave in and formed the rest of the dough into boring old circles and flattened them on the pan.

Once all the cookies were baked, it was finally time to complete the step I had been waiting for all my life - covering them with chocolate. So, I melted me some chocolate and then picked through the heart shaped cookies to find the ones that looked the most like hearts. I started dipping them in the chocolate, put sprinkles on some and then placed them on a sheet of parchment paper. I stood back to admire my work.

And then I laughed.

Six freakin' chocolate covered cookies? Are you kidding me? All that work for SIX? I ate them all in one sitting and I vowed to never do this again. Sorry, BFF, no chocolate covered gingersnaps for you.

P.S. Just in case you were wondering, the cookies themselves were actually quite good. I will be making them again, I will just remember to chill the dough and I will be skipping the cookie cutting and chocolate covering part and sticking to rolling each ball in sugar and flattening it on the pan.


Lois Lane II said...

Yum!!! They look so good! I'm going to have to try that recipe!

Kayla said...

First of all... YUM! I wish I had you here to make me all of these fun things to eat!

2nd I live in Iowa... Yesterday and today was pretty cool, which is abnormal... I was mostly saying that I was excited for Fall to get here so that I could enjoy the nice cool crisp air.. haha :-) I'm only dreaming, it should be here in about a month though!

Holly said...

Lesson learned! I trust your six chocolate covered cookies were worth it!

3 Blessings said...

Oh, those look so yummy! I definitely would have eaten all six.

Jenny.Lee said...

They look so yummy! Could you send a few my way? :)

...Mrs. Southern Bride... said...


You deserve an award for the recipe.

I love chocolate. I love gingersnaps.


Meg said...

Wow. You are very persistent. I would have given up. ;)

They sure do look yummy though!

Sassenachs in Scotland said...

I have a really good gingersnap cookie recipe that would maybe work for you next time.
I appreciate all your hard work, but honestly, I wouldn't care if they were shaped into beetles (now THAT would be hard!) as long as they tasted yummy :)
My tummy is rumbling just thinking about all the delicious treats you will have waiting for me. Why did I ever leave you?? :)

C said...

I'll take a batch! ;)

You're my hero.

Annie said...

the chocolate ones with sprinkles look so nummy! i hope you enjoyed them ;)

Lucky in Love said...

Hilarious. I am picturing you trying to work in your fridge :)

I read somewhere that if you cut out the cookies and then put them in the fridge for a little bit...and then directly into the oven...they aren't supposed to spread. I tried it once...perhaps with penis cookies I made for a bachelorette party...and it didn't work. They looked even weirder than normal. Maybe I didn't chill long enough? Have you heard this?

Brooke said...

i love reading about other people's cooking adventures. i'm not the best cook, so it helps to know even experts (you have a cooking blog therefore you are an expert) have problems too!

Summer @ B is for Brown said...

SIX? jesum peets.

They do look tasty though!

Anonymous said...

Dude, I'd still eat them. They look delicious!

I've found some of my best tasting foods don't always look picture perfect. :)

SnoWhite said...

Awesome. I bet chocolate and gingersnaps are great :)

Brittany Ann said... may be my sister. This is like every cookie disaster I've ever had! Except that yours still looked beautiful and delish! Would you be willing to try again if I come visit?

Jorden and Kristin said...

oh my goodness too funny! this sounds like just about every time i make cookies!