Sweet & Vicious by Libbie Summers I wrote before that I came across this book while I was in Seattle and believed I'd never heard of Libbie Summers. I realized this isn't true; I am passingly familiar with her first book, The Whole Hog. But still not very. I'm impressed that she followed up a book all about using all the bits of a pig with a baking book.
There are many cookbooks I come across, from which I create a mental list of all the recipes in it that I want to try out. It is rare, though, that I find a book like this from which I simply cannot find a recipe that I am not interested in making. Sure, there are some recipes I am a bit more excited about, those that go to the top of the list, but I want to make everything in this book!
My first one:
Jacked-Up Ginger Cookies (big flavor with twice the ginger)
from Sweet & Vicious by Libbie Summers
yields 30 cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed dark or light brown sugar (either works great)
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and molasses. Gradually mix in the flour mixture. Mix in the fresh ginger. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or overnight. (The dough is like gingerbread on steroids. Give it a taste. Trust me.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together the turbinado sugar and crystallized ginger. Shape the dough using a small portion scoop into 1 1/2-inch balls and roll the balls in the turbinado sugar mixture. Place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly brown. Let cook and serve.
Goodness, these are the perfect ginger cookies. Densely chewy, not too sweet. I couldn't manage to chop the crystallized ginger as finely as Summers appears to have done in her photograph (it's so sticky and stiff), so I sort of had to stick the larger pieces into the dough balls. I froze half the dough, but the 16 or so I made disappeared in 12 hours (and that was with much self control). The only thing I will change next time is to add even more fresh ginger (and the 1 1/2 tablespoons called for in the recipe I made heaping). Probably around 2 tablespoons fresh ginger next time.
Also, I ate a lot of the dough. It was difficult, really, to make myself rolls it into balls and cook them. But they're worth the sacrifice, I promise. In order to manage my cookbooks and to keep some sense of order in the house, I always manage to shelve a new cookbook in the bookshelves upstairs, away from the kitchen, within a couple of weeks. I don't think this one is leaving the kitchen table anytime soon.