It was too hot to bake, but I was in the mood for some crunchy ginger cookies to have with my tea. AND I was eager to play with my cookie stamps again! There was no recipe, so I did what I always do—made it up as I went.
Of course, if you don't have cookie stamps, you can just use something (bottom of a glass, bottom of a stainless steel measuring cup, your hand) to flatten the dough balls into 2-inch rounds. Maybe not as cute, but just as tasty!
For those of you who are dunkers—I am not, but if you are, please go right ahead—these are good dunking biscuits. Just the right size, crunchy and sturdy enough to hold up to a good dunking.
As I mentioned, it was hot. So I was having a little trouble stamping my cookie dough, even chilled. But I came up with a trick I'm going to use even on cold days: a very, very light dusting of flour on the dough balls.
Just flatten the dough ball a bit, flour lightly, brush away the excess, proceed with stamping (step 5 below), and there you go, no sticking! Worked well with my stainless steel 1/4-cup measuring cup I used to make unstamped cookies.
Here are my Stamped Shortbread Cookies. Sooo good with tea. Tell me, are you a dunker or a non-dunker?
PS Don't strain your eyes! The cookie in the middle in both photos is not stamped, just flattened with a flat-bottomed stainless steel measuring cup about 2 inches in diameter.
Ginger Snaps - Ginger Nuts or Ginger Biscuits
(Makes about 20 2-inch cookies)
1 1/4 dip-and-sweep cup (6.25 ounces/177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) sugar
2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
1 In small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
2 In 1.5-quart mixing bowl, by hand or with electric hand mixer on lowest speed, cream the butter and sugar just until smooth, mixing in the molasses toward the end.
3 Add flour mixture and mix well without beating a lot of air into it. If mixture is too dry to form a dough, mix in a teaspoon of water. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, forming a 4-inch disk; refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes. If you overchill the dough, it will be difficult to work with.
4 Using a measuring tablespoon, measure out level tablespoons of dough onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll the scoops into smooth balls. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so. This will make them easy to stamp, and the design will be very sharp. But if you overchill the dough balls, they will be difficult to stamp.
5 To stamp, with dough ball in the center of the stamp, press the stamp evenly till the dough reaches the edge of the stamp. Gently lift the stamp away. Repeat. My technique is to lift the stamp with the dough attached and gently peel away at the edge. This works very well with the chilled dough. If you find the dough balls getting too warm before you’re finished stamping, put the baking sheet back in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
6 Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. About 15 minutes before you’d like to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325F/165C/Gas3.
7 Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until quite firm and edges are starting to brown. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.