The way the cookie crumbles

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BSMbanner_baked-150I have a confession to make.  The photo above is two years old.  So are the other photos in this week’s blog.  Allow me to explain myself… I did not skip out on making the recipe for this week!

I enjoyed fairly good, yummy success making this week’s Baked Sunday Mornings recipe, the Chocolate Ginger Molasses Cookie, two years ago – around Christmas time.  I’m sharing these older photos with you now because… well… I don’t know what happened, but this time, they just were not good.  They tasted pretty bad (dry and bitter) and weren’t even pretty enough for me to muster up the energy to whip together the icing to decorate them.  Every baker has bad times in the kitchen, and never is it more frustrating than when you know you had some measure of success on the first go-round!

My Chocolate Ginger Molasses Cookie looking fancy in the drawing room at Ten Chimneys in Genesee Depot, WI (where I used to work). (Photo credit: Amanda Shilling)

I absolutely adore the idea behind these festive cookies.  Who doesn’t enjoy the comforting smell of molasses cookies – tinged with spicy notes of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves – baking in the oven?  They’re a perfect roll-out cookie for a snowy day or for the holiday season.  The special touch Baked has added to this traditional cookie is the addition of dark cocoa powder and a couple ounces of melted bittersweet chocolate, blended right into the batter with the dark molasses.  It’s a subtle finish that pays off handsomely.  Perhaps surprisingly, chocolate, spice, and molasses are a trio made in heaven.

Let’s get the bad news and results out of the way first…

If memory serves me right, I was somewhat impressed with the workability of the dough the first time I made these.  This time around, I found that it was – for lack of a better word – just obnoxious.  First of all, it was far too dry and crumbly, and took forever to shape into a ball for wrapping and chilling.  Even later on, when I attempted rolling it out, it kept breaking and shattering into crumbs.  Very frustrating.  Secondly, I don’t think that I should have chilled the dough as the recipe suggests.  After melding all of the dough crumbles together into a ball straight out of the mixing bowl, I could have rolled and baked the cookies off fairly well.  I made my dough two nights before baking the cookies, and chilled the discs of dough, wrapped in plastic, in the fridge.  Even after letting them sit on the counter for almost two hours, they were still too cold and brittle, and kept cracking and breaking up as I rolled them out.  Warming one disc in the microwave for a few seconds, while perhaps not advisable, helped loosen the dough a touch.  No matter if the dough was chilled or slightly warmed, there still were ugly cracks across the surface of the cookies which were even more unattractive when the cookies were baked.

I also wondered if a slight cut-back on the baking soda measurement would make a huge amount of difference.  A tablespoon is quite a lot, and the edgy, bitter baking soda flavor definitely overpowered the spices in this batch.  With a cookie like this, you want the subtle warmth of chocolate, heightened with the kick of the spices and smokiness of the molasses.

100_1332And now, the good news…

You should, definitely, try making this cookie – especially if you are a fan of any of the ingredients in the cookie’s name.  I promise you that it is not an unworthy endeavor.  I loved these the first time I made them, and they can be truly beautiful cookies to decorate with the slightly lemony icing  (I used a small plastic baggie to decorate the cookies in the photos – simply fill the baggie with the icing and snip off a tiny bit of the baggie’s corner.  Easy!).  As any good baker will tell you, there are good days in the kitchen, and there are bad.  This just wasn’t a good baking week for yours truly – but I take comfort in knowing I had one successful attempt with them and snapped some fabulous photos at the time to share with you now!  And that’s the way the Chocolate Ginger Molasses Cookie crumbles, folks.  At least, this time.  Next time, they will be fabulous!

The recipe and blogs by my fellow bakers can be found at Baked Sunday Mornings:

Chocolate Ginger Molasses Cookie

Have a wonderful week, everyone! Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day… if you go in for that sort of thing!  Ha!  I’m pretty well-known among my friends and acquaintances for dressing in black and making Martha Stewart’s recipe for Broken Heart Chocolate Cookies – an amazing dark chocolate cut-out, heart-shaped cookie spiced with cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and black pepper and spattered with dark chocolate.  The ‘broken heart’ effect is created by cutting a slight zig-zag pattern into the cookies before baking them.  They’re incredible.  The recipe can be found in The Martha Stewart Cookbook (Clarkson Potter Publishers, 1995).  Jake and I are hitting Chicago this weekend to celebrate our 3rd anniversary on Monday, so I’m not sure if I will get to them this week or not.  And I no longer wear black on Valentine’s Day, of course!

Next week: Lacy Panty Cakes with Whiskey Sauce (Oh!  Eww.  This could be interesting…?)

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9 thoughts on “The way the cookie crumbles

  1. Even though they’re 2 years old , they look super! I’ve been hearing a lot about people who have gotten a very dry dough. I think it might have to do with temperature or humidity or something. I followed the recipe exactly and they came out just fine.
    Happy Valentines Day!

  2. Beautiful! Looks just like what the Baked Boys had in mind with this recipe. Well done. We really love this recipe…I”ll remember it for next holidays!

  3. I totally empathize… every time I have an inexplicable failure with a recipe that’s worked for me before, I wonder if I’ve lost my baking mojo. But sometimes, we all just have a bad baking day. :( Your cookies from two years ago and the beautiful frosting look absolutely amazing!

  4. Okay, I am not going to give up on this recipe. I love your two year old photos. They look beautiful. The dough is good, so I will have to try again. Perhaps when it isn’t so dry in the house.

  5. Beautiful, Mark! They look like winter. :)

    If I hadn’t of kept adding wet stuff to my batter, I’m pretty sure I would have had the same outcome. I wonder what it is, since some people obviously made out just fine and other’s of us had super dry dough.

  6. Those cookies look spectacular! Sorry it was an off week for you this week. I was very worried about my dough, but luckily it was fine after it chilled.

  7. When I first got “Baked Elements,” the very first page that I opened to was for the “Lacy Panty Cakes.” I burst out laughing. Definitely a toss up between thinking “Ewww” and “Could be good….” Sorry your cookies didn’t turn out well this time, but your snowflakes and trees looked beautiful!

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