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The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Dark Chocolate Gingersnaps

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The day has arrived!  The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap has come to a close, and today is the day everyone who participated is sharing their delicious recipes.  

It was so much fun participating in this massive cookie exchange; definitely one to do next year as well.  How it works is this: after signing up, you are assigned 3 random bloggers to send cookies to.  A dozen cookies each, all an original recipe.  In return, 3 different bloggers send you a dozen cookies, so everyone ends up with one dozen of 3 different kinds of cookies.  Too fun, right?

Chocolate Gingersnaps 1

 

I was assigned to make cookies for Brooke from 2 Texas Gals, Crystal from Mrs. Happy Homemaker, and Khandra from Cakes by Khandra.  Let me tell you, trying to decide on one recipe was tough.  I needed to do something that would hold up well to shipping, but I still wanted to do something original and somewhat festive and holiday-like.  I finally decided on gingersnaps, with a little twist: dark chocolate gingersnaps.  I had made something similar years before, but more as a firm, wafer-like gingersnap.  These were soft and chewy, perfectly spiced and that nice rich hit of dark chocolate.  I made an extra dozen to have at the house, which were quickly devoured by both Shawn and myself.  Cookies don’t have a long life in our house.

Chocolate Gingersnaps 2

 

Speaking of which, I can’t forget about the cookies that showed up at my front door!  I don’t know if everyone that participates is this talented, or if I just got real lucky, but we had an absolute sugar feast with our shipments.  Megan from Nutrition Awareness sent maple gingersnaps, with the maple sourced from her family’s farm in Ohio.  Sweet and spicy and simple, perfect little gingersnaps.  Ace from The Toasted Sprinkle sent in “Faux-reos”: chocolate shortbread with white chocolate filling.  I nominate these to take the place of real Oreos, they were seriously that good.  And finally, Nicole from Cooking for Keeps sent us sugar cookies dipped in white chocolate with peppermint candy and pretzels.  I cannot tell you how insanely good these were.  Super soft, buttery cookies, with the sweetness of the white chocolate, the coolness of the peppermint and the salt of the pretzels.  I was deeply disappointed to only get 12; I could have eaten a truckload full of those babies.  So, so good!

Needless to say, in my humble opinion, the Cookie Swap was a great success!  If you are curious about how to participate next year, you can go here for more information.  Happy baking!  THG

Dark Chocolate Gingersnaps
Yields 2
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  3. 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  5. 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  6. 1 Tbsp. ground ginger
  7. 1 tsp. ground allspice
  8. 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  9. 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  10. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  11. 1/2 cup sugar
  12. 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  13. 1/4 cup heavy molasses
  14. 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  15. 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  16. 2 eggs, at room temperature
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cream of tartar. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar until thick. Add molasses, fresh grated ginger and sea salt; mix well to combine. Add eggs one at a time to wet ingredients and beat well. Sift dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix to combine. Work together with your hands into a large ball of dough.
  4. Scoop the dough using a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop. Roll into balls and place on parchment paper lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake in the oven on the center rack for 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Leave on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then move cookies to cooling rack. Serve at room temperature.
The Humble Gourmet http://www.thehumblegourmet.com/

Blood Orange Marmalade & The Best Granola Ever

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So, what are your thoughts on breakfast? I’m actually not a huge fan; I tend to get really nauseous if I eat too much in the morning, so I have to keep the food light. Shawn, on the other hand, is a huge fan of breakfast. So, this post and the recipes are for him.

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This has been one of my first forays into preserves. A few years ago, I made a batch of ginger-pear preserves that were delicious. Unfortunately, I did not can them correctly and they went bad pretty quickly

:-(

After doing some good marmalade researching, I developed a pretty simple and tasty recipe: blood oranges, rosemary and ginger. A little heat, a little herb, a lotta citrus. It’s sort of tangy-sweet, with the ginger and rosemary coming in at the very end. Shawn has been using it on toast this week, but I’m planning on heating some up and pouring it over vanilla panna cotta soon. Yum, yum, yum.

If you too are new to preserves, marmalade is a great way to start. Simple and easy recipe; there’s no pectin in marmalade since the citrus creates enough of it on its own, so just cooking it down sufficiently will result in a thick, jelly-like spread.

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Now THIS, this granola, is not a new recipe. I’ve been making this for a couple of years; it’s the best. A balance of sweet and salty, a nice mix of oats and seeds; pepitas and almonds for crunch, flax seed and coconut for taste. It makes a nice big batch, but it keeps well in an airtight container. A little almond milk, some blueberries; you have yourself a nice, light breakfast. Shawn likes to just grab a handful to snack on throughout the day. It’s pretty hard to stop eating this granola.

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This has been a week of stress and anxiety. My dad (my beloved Papa) has been in the hospital having surgery for diverticulitis. It’s been a stressful and emotional few months leading up to this week, but he’s on the other side of the surgery now and recovering. He’s had to strictly modify his diet to avoid pain and inflammation. I’m hoping that once his recovery is done, he can go back to eating those foods he loves without discomfort. I plan on making some of his favorites once he gets the go ahead from the doctors. Mainly, I just want him home and healthy. My immediate family is pretty healthy, this is really the first major health issue any of us have dealt with, so it has definitely taken its toll on all of us. I just do better when the people I love are living their lives with no issues. Is that too much to ask for? I hope not.

In the meantime, just breathe deep and eat comfort foods. Like granola. And marmalade. And maybe a little (lot) of chocolate. THG

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Blood Orange Rosemary Ginger Marmalade
4 large blood oranges
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 stalks fresh rosemary
4 cups cold water
1/2 cup sugar

Peel the oranges, being careful to keep the white pith on the orange. Cut into 1/4 inch slivers. Remove the white pith from the oranges and slice the fruit, widthwise, into 1/4 inch slices.
Add the orange slices, peel, ginger and rosemary to a medium saucepan. Pour cold water over fruit, cover pot and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat pot over medium high to a rolling boil and boil for 5 minutes. Strain liquid and remove rosemary, ginger, and any skin from the oranges (leave the pulp and peel). Return liquid, pulp and peel to the stove and boil. Reduce heat to medium and add sugar. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until liquid has reduced by half and thickens, about 15-20 minutes.
Can marmalade according to instructions on canning set.

Makes approximately 2 cups

The Best Granola Ever
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced raw almonds
1 cup pepitas
3/4 cup unsweetened shaved coconut
1/2 cup flax seed
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, mix oats, almonds, pepitas, coconut and flax seed. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat molasses, honey, brown sugar and vegetable oil over medium high heat to a boil. Whisk in cinnamon, sea salt, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger. Pour half the spice mixture over the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add the remainder and mix well. Spread mixture over a large cookie sheet and smooth out even. Bake in the center of the oven until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool, then break up into bite sized pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Makes approximately 6 cups