As kids my brother and I used to be excited when guests came over for tea. My mother would put on a display of an array of snacks, which were by an large reserved only for guests. We used to eagerly await for the goodbyes to commence. Usually, people spent a good 15 mts at the door and then another 10 mts or so at the landing. That give us enough time to polish off the namkeens before my mother returned. I was particularly naughty and had a tendency of polishing namkeens on my own without sharing some with my brother. I had been rebuked often for doing so. As a result, whenever I used to help myself to murrukkus, chanachurs, and the like, I used to offer a marginal portion to my father/brother. I genuinely believed that it would do the trick. My mother used to keep the snacks under lock and key in Chennai. A china lock to be precise. Now these locks looked the same and I had seen them lying around with the keys dangling. One day I figured that my mother kept the key at the top of the very cupboard that contained the coveted snacks. I changed the lock and retained the key with me while the older key stayed at the top of the cupboard. This gave me full access to the goodies. I felt immensely powerful. Anyway, soon came a day when guests arrived and the mandatory snack tray had to be displayed. To my mother’s utter horror, the cupboard couldn’t be unlocked. I was playing downstairs and could hear her asking me to come up immediately. Very calmly she asked me to hand over the key. Though it may sound silly, I felt very powerful handing it over. I think that was the day my mother realised that there was no point in locking these goodies. Interestingly, the minute I had easy access to them, they ceased to tempt me.
My mother loves ginger cookies. I recall her asking me to try baking them a long while ago. A few weeks ago I finally baked these cookies using the recipe available here.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup margarine, softened – I used butter
1 cup white sugar – I used Splenda
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup molasses [I substituted this with organic honey as I did not have jaggery at home]
2 tablespoons white sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside. Since I baked in the convection mode of my Samsung Microwave, I have to make do with the limited temperature settings. I preheated it at 180 degrees C and then baked the cookies at 160 degrees C for 12 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. [I had a ample time at my disposal and hence applied Julia Child’s tip of heating the beating bowl, drying it, and then beating the butter and sugar. It creamed together much faster.] Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. [I placed the dough in the fridge for 30 mts before I started shaping the cookies. This helped working with the dough. Also my cookies were of different shapes and sizes and I took solace in Nigella’s words that this is what lends them character :)] Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
These cookies were big and soft but the ginger flavour did not come through as strongly as I would have liked it too. I plan to add an additional tsp of ginger powder the next time I bake these cookies.