Friday, October 11, 2019

Chewy and Soft Spice Cookies

These spice cookies are perfectly chewy and soft, with a bite from the candied ginger bits on the top. Whether you're looking for a dessert for a potluck this Thanksgiving or are simply trying to get ahead for Christmas, this is an awesome back-pocket recipe to go for!

I have always loved the scents of holiday spices. Growing up, as soon as the apples were picked in the orchard for pies, we knew it was mulled cider season. I would stand at the crockpot while my mom would dump in the fresh pressed cider and the milk-carton looking container of mulling spices, and only after being admonished for putting my face in the food did I retreat to the couch and wait for it to be ready. The cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves would coat my throat and make even the most blustery fall day a non-issue.

Ironically, I've never been one to go out of my way for spice in cookies. Cider, cake, muffins - all absolutely passable vehicles for the warming spices of the season. But my experience with spice cookies - and especially gingerbread - was the hard, verging on stale storebought ones coated in sanding sugar that we used to be served with school Christmas lunch. I don't care what kind of cookie it is, I do not like it when it's hard and crunchy (sorry biscotti). That said, my coworkers, friends (and now co-workers of N) like spice cookies in any form, so come holiday time my house is thoroughly perfumed with butter-bloomed cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, amongst other things.

These cookies were made as a "thank you" for one of N's coworkers who has always supported him and allowed him to switch shifts for whatever reason. The cookies themselves are not fancy in any way - looking at them, there's no icing, no sprinkles, nothing but a few bits of candied ginger poking through the thin, shiny crust. However, their simple looks give way to a perfect balance of texture and flavour. The egg whites allow the cookies to be light with a hint of chew and a shiny surface, while the judicious use of spices add a warm hum to every bite without smacking you over the head with heat. The cardamom is, and will always be, my favourite spice of the lot when it comes to spice baking, and since I get little bits at a time from a high-turnover bulk store you can certainly smell it when it's in play! The perfect two bite size makes these cookies great for a snack or bake sale table and I know I have requests to make them again for the staff party. Let the warmth of the fall season begin!

Chewy and Soft Spice Cookies
Adapted from Dessert for Two
Makes 24
1/2 cup butter flavoured shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp allspice 
2 egg whites
2 tbsp fancy molasses
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda
candied ginger slices, diced (for topping)
  1. In a medium bowl, beat together the shortening, butter, sugar and spices until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg white and molasses and mix well.
  3. Add the flours and baking soda and beat until just combined. 
  4. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, or in the fridge overnight.
  5. Heat the oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment or SilPat 
  6. Scoop tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheets and top with candied ginger pieces. 
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, then cool completely on the sheets.

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