These cookies get their magic from a combining of opposites: soft and crunchy, spicy and sweet, dark and light.
The first snow fell this weekend and it was beautiful. I rushed E to the window as soon as she woke up so she could see the flakes falling by the light of the street lamp. The ground was smooth and glittering and the air heavy with wet feathery flakes that spiralled as they fell.
Later that day we ran through the snow and watched it sift down around us, turning our hoods white, and melting onto our noses. I was expecting to have to drag her back inside kicking and screaming, away from this new play thing, but she surprised me. After a quarter of an hour outside she was ready to go in and “get cozy”.
I grabbed off her mitts and felt her hands, they were still warm. Her cheeks were flushed from running and her toes were well wrapped in layers of wool. We flung off our winter wrappings and gathered a pile of blankets to burrow into. The snow was magical, but it was this contrast between the warmth and the cold that made it so.
Everything I love about winter needs its opposite to flourish. The lights that sparkle on homes and trees need the dark to shine, the calm and quiet moments need the frantic hustle of commerce to be appreciated, the warmth needs the sharp and bitter cold to give comfort.
Happily trapped inside by layers of ice and swirls of snow we turned our attention to that other essential of winter life, baking. These cookies too, get their magic from a combining of opposites: soft and crunchy, spicy and sweet, dark and light.
To warm us after our snow adventure we made ginger cookies. These cookies are soft and chewy with a crunch of sugar on the outside. They are filled with spicy fresh and dried ginger to warm and sweet white chocolate to soothe. They’re also fun to roll and press; a deliciously edible play dough!
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2-3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 1/4 cup of boiling water
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons dry ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
8 oz white chocolate squares or chips
1. Preheat oven to 325C
2. Cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy
3. Beat in molasses and ginger until well combined
4. Mix baking soda and water, slowly add to sugar and butter mixture while stirring
5. Stir in flour, dry ginger, and nutmeg
6. If using chocolate chips or chunks stir into batter (optional)
7. Cover dough and chill in fridge for 1-24 hours
8. Divide dough into 36 balls
9. Roll each ball through a shallow dish of white sugar (optional)
10. Press each ball onto a parchment lined baking sheet. If using chocolate squares press a generous square onto each cookie
11. Bake for 12-15 minutes