03 January 2012


Over the slow weeks of the holidays, E and I talked a few times about making cookies but never quite got around to it. Something about lazy days spent huddled in front of your computer, slaying dragons and harvesting all manner of material, makes me want cookies. Unable to resist the urge any longer, I created these beauties:
The recipe is mine, approximated by browsing a few cookie recipes online to get some basics (I don't know how much flour you need per egg, nor the baking soda/powder requirements) and took the rest from my long history of making shortbread. The goal here was a fluffy cookie - Blue Bottle has these snickerdoodles which transcend cookie-dom; they are fluffy and airy, not too sweet, full of flavor. I wanted something like that at home. An aside: the rest of their cookies are spectacular, specifically the Sesame Absinthe Cigar (nĂ© Biscotti Regina) and their Gingersnaps.

For flavor, I didn't want to go grocery shopping which left me with a few options: fresh ginger, chocolate (chips or powder), nuts, oats, and molasses. Also malted barley, which I use for bagels, caught my eye; molasses in cookies is good but adds a heavy flavor; I figured the malted barley would do a lighter flavor and keep the cookies a white/yellow color. That plus ginger settled it, and so I got these. They are very fluffy and not too sweet with a ginger punch that has gotten stronger overnight; they almost border on biscuit/scone territory, but are definitely cookies.
Makes ~15 cookies (feel free to double; this is roughly a half-batch)

1 cup flour
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg (I wouldn't double this - most recipes online are 1 egg for every 1.5-2 cups flour)
1 tbsp malted barley (you can use honey as a substitute)
~1 knuckle fresh ginger (1 tbsp most likely, though I didn't measure)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda (because there is some acidity in the cookies)
1/4 tsp baking powder (because I wasn't completely sure there was enough)

If you have a mixer, this recipe is really easy. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy stirring. I don't, but I still did it. Combine the butter and sugar and mix quickly until creamed. It helps if you chop up the butter and leave it on the counter to soften. Add the egg to the bowl and beat on high for as long as your arm can take, then another minute or so (at least 5 minutes). The goal is to get some air into the batter.

Add the baking powder, vanilla, salt, barley, and grate the ginger over the bowl (so that if any liquid comes out you get that as well). Stir for just a minute or so, until blended. Line baking sheets with parchment. Form cookies by filling a tablespoon with batter and level off, then scoop out with a spoon onto the sheet - these are your cookies. Cover with plastic and cool in the fridge for at least an hour. Cook at 350 for 17-20 minutes, until the edges have begun to brown.

If you want, you could chill the dough between mixing and shaping; this would allow you to actually shape the dough by hand instead of plopping it onto the sheet because anything else is too sticky.

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