Saturday, September 05, 2009

Lemon-Scented Ginger Almond Crisps

I think we may have a new addition to add to the upcoming holiday baking spree (yes, get ready, that time is coming up fast once again!). Besides the fact that these Lemon-Scented Ginger Almond Crisps passed the taste test with flying colors, this will most likely be moved to the "must make list" because the dough can be done in advance and makes a ton of cookies!

What drew my attention to this recipe was how this eggless dough was prepared, a little different than your average cookie. Remember how that Cinnamon Chip Sour Cream Cake we recently made was prepared? It is somewhat similar to that - the dry ingredients, flour, sugar, pungent ground ginger, fresh lemon zest and sweet cinnamon were tossed right into the mixing bowl first and whirled around to combine. The softened butter, molasses, pure lemon extract to amplify the zest and a splash of vanilla are then beaten in - it may look a little crumbly at first, but it will come together into a firm dough.

When the fragrant dough was ready, we got out our reliable wooden spoon and stirred in minced crystallized ginger and toasted sliced almonds by hand. Divided into two pieces, with each being formed into just over an inch thick brick, we wrapped up the dough and left it in the refrigerator to chill out while we headed off to the farmers' market this morning. The dough needs to firm up to be able to slice it thin enough - while it isn't sticky, if you went to try and slice it right away, it would just squish down and not come out in uniform slices.

I wouldn't say that slicing the dough is tricky, but the recipe calls for getting the planks thinner than 1/8" - with the chunky bits of ginger and almond in the dough, that didn't always happen. However, the dough is malleable enough that you can press it flatter or back together if need be. When we do this for our baking spree, I'll probably slice up the solid bricks completely, then freeze the thin unbaked cookie dough - this way I'll be able to pop a pan into the oven whenever it is convenient... you know, when I'm busy with recipes that don't use the oven like fudge or toffee.

You can arrange the cookies on the baking sheet fairly close together - they spread, but not much. You'll be safe if they are kept about a half inch or so apart. Since the dough is pretty brown already, thanks to that robust molasses, doneness is harder to spot - you are looking for the edges around the cookies to darken slightly and for the cookies to look set.

They come out of the oven a little soft, but as they cool, they will firm into crispy gems with a snappy bite. Cinnamon and ginger already go well together, but throw the magic union of lemon and almond into the pot and a dynamite marriage is born. I loved how the sweet heat from the fragments of crystallized ginger weaved throughout the cookies without being too intense - just noticeable enough to stimulate and charge our taste buds. Out of the full recipe, I ended up with just about 9 dozen cookies - however, you could easily halve the ingredients if you don't need quite that many!

3 comments:

  1. I love that the dough can be frozen--it DOES sound like a good contender for the holidays! But it also sounds a little tricky to slice so thinly with all those almonds and crystallized ginger pieces in there...do you think it would be horrible if the slices were a little thicker?

    Courtney

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  2. Courtney - Horrible? I doubt it, they might not be as crispy though!

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