Tag Archives: Cookiepalooza

My Cookie Craving: Kaki’s Gingersnaps

Rich, chewy and exceptionally flavorful with a gorgeous sugar-coated crackled top. That describes my friend Kaki’s homemade gingersnaps. She made them last December for our big blow-out holiday Cookiepalooza, and I haven’t stopped thinking about them since. Yesterday morning, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I baked a double batch. And the world seemed sunnier because of it.

Kaki’s Gingersnaps:

  • ¾ cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon candied ginger, minced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup additional sugar, for coating
  • 1 package white chocolate coating, for dipping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy; add the egg and molasses and mix until well blended. In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients then add the candied ginger if you’re using it and toss to coat the ginger. Combine the dry and wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.

Shape a tablespoon of dough into a ball and roll it in sugar, setting it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Personally, I like to use a 1″ cookie scoop and drop the scoop into a small bowl of sugar. It works just as well and each cookie comes out exactly the same size as the next. I’m sort of obsessive about stuff like that, but that’s just me.  Bake each tray of cookies for 12-14 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely, then you can decide to dip or not to dip.

This is Kaki – making gingersnaps

This is Kaki making her gingersnaps. When she made them in December, we dipped them in white chocolate. And they were delicious. If you’d like to dip yours, melt a package of white chocolate or candy coating according to package instructions. Dip cookies half-way, scraping the bottom of the cookie along the edge of the bowl or pan to remove the excess. Place on parchment or wax paper and allow to set up until firm to the touch. If you’re in a pinch for time, you can pop the tray into the refrigerator or freezer for a  few minutes. Then bag and tag them. A single batch makes 24-30 cookies.

I liked them both ways – plain and dipped. But if I were to sit and eat them with a big glass of milk like The Complete Package and I did yesterday, I prefer them unadorned. Just plain, simple, powerful ginger goodness. But you try them both ways and judge for yourself. Will you be a white chocolate-dipped lover or a plain old-fashioned fan? Truthfully, I’ll take them any way I can get them.

Go on and bake some. You know you want to.

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Cookiepalooza – man, that was fun!

Snowmen. Made out of Nutter Butters. Adorable!

I had 7 friends over yesterday to bake holiday cookies. Cookiepalooza – that’s what we called it. Instead of the standard cookie exchange, we decided it would be fun to spend an entire day together baking, visiting and playing cards. Turns out having 8 ladies in one kitchen making 9 different treats doesn’t leave much time for games. But don’t let that fool you. There was NO shortage of fun. There was no shortage of sweet treats, either. We made over 750 pieces of sugar-laden goodness yesterday. And my house smelled fantastic. Cookiepalooza rocked.

With Christmas carols playing in the background, we tackled cookie recipes one or two at a time until they were baked off and cooling. Then we would rotate in the next two recipes and work through them, and so on and so on. In all, we baked for 7 hours. We made 7 types of cookies and two treats in the ‘other’ category – Rolo & Pretzel Turtles and Nutter Butter Snowmen. I’ve made the Rolo Turtles before, but they seemed a lot cuter made from star-shaped holiday pretzels. Those 5-pointed little stars look like arms, legs and heads. Plus, they’re a snap to make. {Get it… snapping…turtles}

Rolo Turtles made with star-shaped holiday pretzels

The Nutter Butter Snowmen were new for me. I knew when I saw them on the Brown Eyed Baker’s Blog that I would make these. I couldn’t resist. They’re just too cute! Thanks to Jonah Bear, my 5-year-old grandson, I knew the wonders of fruit roll-ups, so I grabbed a box to add a decorative touch – scarves! Tip #1: use the multi-flavored striped roll-ups and cut them into strips with a pizza cutter. Tip #2: dip the Nutter Butter cookies one half (or end) at a time. The scarves get tied on at the center, so the dip line doesn’t show. Tip #3: to attach the scarves, wrap around the middle and twist like you would a twist-tie when buying produce. Then press gently on the twisted portion to stick them down. Tip #4: those tiny tubes of frosting in the baking aisle make perfect faces.

Striped fruit roll-ups make great snowman scarves
Some truths cannot be denied, and one of those truths is that my friend Kaki doesn’t bake much. Yesterday, she pulled a rabbit out of the hat that had us all shaking our heads. She made the most incredible homemade gingersnaps I’ve ever eaten. I’m not kidding. If there hadn’t been people around to see me do it, I could have eaten an entire tray with a 1/2 gallon of cold milk. Then she dipped them in white chocolate, and I passed out. Must have been the excitement and novelty of it all. Or maybe it was because they were so gosh-darned good and made my kitchen smell like heaven. Well played, Kaki. Well played.

Kaki's Homemade Gingersnaps

But wait! There was so much more. Here’s the rundown:

Linda – made a family recipe for pecan cookies
Pat – made her old-school orange slice candy cookies
Sheriee – made cowboy cookies, then dipped them in chocolate
Cindy – made chewy chocolate krinkle cookies
Judy – made buttery oatmeal coconut cookies
Cindy & Kaki – paired up to make those Rolo pretzel turtles

And I made coconut shortbreads from Cookie Week (from the Cookies for Kids Cancer Best Bake Sale Cookbook) and the Nutter Butter snowmen (with help).

I’d like to say the best part was all the cookies we made, but I can’t. There was no best part. It was ALL fabulous. We had a blast making all the cookies. We had a hoot decorating and dipping things in chocolate. We loved helping each other and watching timers and washing dishes and generally having each other’s backs all day long. No cookie went untouched or unloved by anyone. It was truly a group effort, the scale of which has never before been seen in my home. I’m not joking when I say we used every square inch of tabletop space in 4 different areas – the kitchen, the breakfast nook, the formal dining room, and even the foyer. Think I’m joking? Here’s my formal dining table as a cooling station:

Judy's coconut oatmeal cookies & turtles cooling in the dining room

And that’s just the dining table. This buffet table along the dining room wall was also used to cool cookies as they came out of the oven (hence the old bath towels layered under the waxed paper). And the cookies just kept piling up.

Chocolate Krinkles & Orange Slice Cookies by the dozens

But that’s not all. We cleared the stuff off the top of the table in my entry foyer and used it to stage cookies once they were cooled, bagged and tagged. This photo only shows less than half of what was made. It was insane, folks!

Cookies waiting to go home for the holidays

I wish my house could smell like this forever. I wish I could invent ‘scratch-N-sniff’ computing so you could smell it, too. And I wish you could all know my friends – they’re a fabulous bunch. And I also wish you could have joined us, but then I’d need a MUCH bigger kitchen. And a whole wall of ovens. And cookie tables in all my bedrooms, which I’m not entirely opposed to.

Cookiepalooza was so successful, there was immediate talk of making this an annual affair. I think that’s a great idea. The question is which of my friends would like to host; but we’ve got 12 months to think about that. Happy holidays, everyone. I wish you love and peace and joy, now and in the coming year.

Buh-bye now! Don't forget to grab a bag of cookies on your way out!

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