CRANBERRY GINGER GEM RECIPE
These Cranberry Gingerbread Gems are a Baking Day favorite of mine, and one which I always associate with this time of year. In the past few years I’ve adapted the cookie to be smaller, crisp, and even more addictive – I usually put ten or so in a small cellophane bag with a ribbon to give to co-workers.
This recipe is part of The Food Channel’s Virtual Cookie Exchange. Recipe courtesy of FoodBat.
Cook Time:10 minutes
• 3/4 cup butter, softened
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses (regular works fine too, but the bitterness helps balance the sweet)
• 1 egg
• 2½ cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon cloves
• 1/3 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 cup dried cranberries
• 1 cup chopped crystallized ginger
• Ginger brew mixed with sugar (or white sugar mixed with 1/4 tsp ground ginger)
1. FYI, I use a stand mixer for this, and if you have one I recommend it. Cream together butter and sugar. (Basically blend them together until the mixture is light in color and fluffy.) Add the molasses and egg; blend well.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl - flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. I use a fork to fluff up the flour but using a sifter works too. Add dry ingredients to the wet - I recommend doing this a bit at a time, and if you are using a stand mixer, pause between additions. The dough will get very stiff.
3. Fold in cranberries and crystallized ginger bits. Cover, and refrigerate until very firm - I didn't use the dough until the next day, but a few hours at least should do it.
4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F, and prep a shallow dish with ginger-sugar mixture.
5. Now, you can shape these a few ways. If you want normal size cookies, simply shape into 1-inch balls and roll in the sugar. However, part of the charm of these cookies is how small, crispy and utterly addictive they are - and I would sure feel a lot more guilty eating regular size cookies. To make small cookies, take a scoop of dough and roll it in your hands into a snake. (Yes, it's going to look like a winner of the dog-turd lookalike contest. Get over it.) Roll the snake in sugar, then take a sharp knife and cut into pieces about a half inch thick. Press slightly to reshape into a circle if necessary.
6. I use a sil-pat on a baking sheet when I make these because it pretty much negates any pan cleanup, but parchment or a greased cookie sheet works well too. Place the mini-cookies about an inch apart.
7. Bake for no more than 10 minutes at 350 degrees - I like to check around 6 minutes in. A cookie should feel set but not stiff - if it feels sturdy in the oven, they are probably overdone. Cool on a rack for a few minutes (if they last that long!)
Recipe & photo courtesy of The Food Channel (www.foodchannel.com )