Monday, March 13, 2017

Little Ginger Cookies (and early spring flours)

These little Ginger Cookies are small in size but big on flavor!
Confession time... The photo above was taken five years ago. It's true. I always meant to write about these awesome cookies but never did. Lately I've been doing some digital-decluttering and I saw this picture and remembered those tiny cookies packed with two kinds of ginger, dried apricots, and dark chocolate. Well, you probably guessed what happened next: I had to make the cookies again because I couldn't stop thinking about them! It helped that I happened to have nearly all the ingredients on hand too.

Whole wheat pastry flour... I had none. Not to be deterred by a single ingredient, but also not wanting to ruin the cookies (and risk wasting the other ingredients), I found a possible substitution. The good news is it works!* You do need cake flour to make it work though, which is not something I always have on hand either. I did have some this time though, thanks to a friend who gave up gluten last year. So here's how to fake it:
For every cup of whole wheat pastry flour needed:
Use a half cup of white whole wheat flour and a half cup of cake flour.
Of course, having found the photo and baked up the cookies, I needed to share them with you. I know it's nearly spring and these seem more of an autumn/winter cookie, but I didn't want to wait any longer. When you're decluttering, once you decide to let go of something, you have to get it out of the house or you haven't really gotten rid of it, right? It's still there, in your space, hanging over your head unfinished. This is like that. I needed to free up space, clear the decks and sweep away some cobwebs. Got to move forward.

Only ever-so-slightly out of season. So while our thoughts and taste buds are rushing toward everything fresh, bright, light and spring-y, I give you these little gingery, chocolate-y, crisp and chewy cookies. Spring hasn't sprung everywhere yet–and even where it has, I'm betting the evenings are still chilly–and these little cookies go great with a mug of hot tea or coffee. They're tiny cookies (maybe an inch and a half across) that are perfect when you want a little sweet-but-not-too-sweet something.

Sparkling Ginger Chip Cookies from Heidi Swanson's blog: 101 Cookbooks
(recipe can also be found on page 197 of her book: Super Natural Every Day)

According to the recipe, you could also make these with all-purpose flour or even spelt flour. Yes, all-purpose. Of course, I didn't notice that part until later (cough, cough)... but if I had, I wouldn't have found the awesome whole wheat pastry flour substitution! Yea! So if you are out of whole wheat pastry flour and cake flour too, reach for good ol' all-purpose flour (unless, of course, you happen to have spelt flour on hand...

My Notes: The batch in the photo are flatter than they usually turn out. Possibly because I baked them right after mixing the dough. Usually I will shape all the cookies and then refrigerate or freeze them for later. Then, just before baking, I'll roll them in the sugar. So, most of the time the cookies are more domed with cracks across them... which is how they are supposed to look. They're uncommonly delicious, domed or not. Another substitution I made on these was the use of semi-sweet chocolate chips. It was the only chocolate in the pantry, and yes, I chopped them with a knife. Next time I might try the food processor... or a hammer (only semi-kidding about the hammer). The cookies are so small that to leave the chocolate chips whole would throw the flavor/texture off completely. Chop, chop!

*Regarding the whole wheat pastry flour substitution: Just because it worked in this recipe, doesn't necessarily mean it will work in other recipes calling for whole wheat pastry flour. However, in a pinch and if I'm desperate, I'll give it a go. I just won't hang all my hopes and dreams on it working and it should be fine. :)