Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gingerbread, part 2: Gingerbread Blondies

For our next gingerbread recipe.... gingerbread blondies! I discovered this recipe last year, and it was the first baking I did after our little gingerbread man was born. The recipe is from the blog of one of my grad school classmates, and I can't even count how many times I've made this recipe in the past year- that's how good it is! I made one batch with milk chocolate chips instead of white chocolate, but I prefer white chocolate (I'd already started making them before noticing I had no white chocolate chips). I've also made them without molasses (complete accident) and although they were less flavorful, they were still good and the friends I shared them with enjoyed them thoroughly.

Blondies are tasty little treats with the added benefit of being baked in a single baking dish, which is much easier than dropping spoonful after spoonful of dough on a cookie sheet. These blondies are also finished with a white chocolate glaze, which is a nice touch, but it can be skipped if you're in a hurry (do add the glaze though, if you can!)

Gingerbread Blondies
recipe from Liz of The Floating Kitchen

20T (2.5 sticks) butter, softened
1 and 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 2T (aka 5/8 cup) granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1t vanilla
1/3 cup molasses
2 and 3/4 cup plus 1T flour (2 and 13/16 if you wanna get technical)
1.25t baking soda
3/4t salt (original recipe used 1.25t)
1.25t cinnamon
1t ginger
1/2t cloves (original recipe used 1/4t)
1 and 3/4 cup white chocolate chips or chunks (I open a 12oz bag, remove 1/3 cup for the glaze, and use the remaining chips for the dough)

For the glaze:
1/3cup white chocolate chips/chunks
1t vegetable oil

Prepare a 9x13 baking dish by spraying with nonstick cooking spray, lining with parchment paper so that there is an inch or 2 of paper hanging over the edges of the dish and spraying the parchment lightly. Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream the butter and sugars, beat til light, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, vanilla and molasses. Whisk together the dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Press the dough into the baking dish. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes (so says the original recipe- my oven takes 50 minutes but it tends to take longer on all recipes.) Use the parchment overhang to remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Once the blondies are completely cool, make the glaze:
heat the white chocolate and oil together in a double boiler until melted, then drizzle over the blondies (with a spoon or a piping bag. I'm a drizzler, it's easier but not as pretty). Depending on how you cut these, you can get up to 4 dozen.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Gingerbread, part 1: Gingerbread Kiss Cookies

This month I'm hosting What's Baking, and from among my 3 choices, my fellow bloggers choose gingerbread to be our theme! (which is what I hoped they'd choose). Our little gingerbread man had a birthday this month, and his gingerbread party will be in a few weeks, so I'm hoping I'll find some good gingerbready treats to make for the party.

I really wanted to bake gingerbread springerle, recipe from the most recent King Arthur Flour catalogue, but I need to borrow my mom's springerle pin and she's misplaced it. I haven't given up hope, but I've come up with other options for my own post.

The first one is gingerbread kiss cookies- inspired by the classic peanut butter kiss cookie, only gingerbread instead of peanut butter. These were quite good. We all know the method (I admit, I didn't know you were supposed to add the chocolate after baking until 2007, and could never understand why my chocolate kisses always got weird and crumbly), we all know the look. I will say, however, that because we're so used to the peanut butter version, it's sometimes a surprise to take a bite and not have peanut butter flavor. I also really liked how they weren't super sweet. One could roll these in sugar before baking and it still wouldn't be overly sweet. And it's always nice to have something that's not sugar overload at the cookie swap.

Little gingerbread man tried these as his very first cookie, and REALLY liked it. He finally got the "more" sign after trying it, so eager was he to have another bite.

I can't speak to how long they'll last in tupperware, I think after 3 days we'd eaten them all. I need to make more.

Also, the original recipe calls for hugs, not kisses. I had kisses, but I think hugs would be better- I prefer white chocolate with gingerbread over milk chocolate.

Gingerbread Kiss Cookies
recipe from McCormick Spices

3/4 cups butter (1.5 sticks), room temperature
3/4 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg
1t vanilla extract
3 cups flour
2t ginger
1t cinnamon
1/4t nutmeg
1t baking soda
1/4t salt
60 (approx) Hershey's Kisses

Cream the butter and brown sugar, beat til light. Beat in molasses, egg and vanilla, and beat til fluffy (2-3 minutes). Whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda and salt, and fold into the butter mixture. Roll 1T balls and place on a cookie sheet (roll in some sugar first, if desired).

Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies have just barely started to brown. Meanwhile, unwrap the kisses. Remove cookies from oven and immediately press a kiss into the center of each cookie. Cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.