Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ginger-Molasses Cookies

Ginger-Molasses Cookies

Exciting news: I OWN A STAND MIXER!

Yes, a little over a week ago, my aunt threw me a bridal shower in St. Paul. I had a great time with all my friends, ate delicious food, and received lots of handy things for our new kitchen. My grandparents were generous enough to give me a gorgeous chrome Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I pulled it out of its box as soon as I got home and placed it in its new home on my counter. And that is where it sat for eight whole days before I touched it again.

I have wanted a stand mixer for the longest time. There have been so many recipes where I stood there, beating things with a hand mixer, or worse, a wooden spoon, for what seemed like forever, all the time dreaming of the day when a stand mixer would do all that work for me. When it was finally in my possession, I wanted to break it in with something that is hard to make without one. Something like the brioche I made a few months ago, where I cursed under my breath while kneading butter into the dough and made my entire kitchen a mess. Only, I didn't feel like making brioche. I thought and thought and thought and nothing seemed like the perfect first recipe for the mixer. Until I finally I gave up and decided I needed to make something right away. It was wrong for the stand mixer to sit there untouched for so long. I tried to get my fiance to give me an idea. After several unhelpful suggestions (potato salad??!?!), he finally mentioned gingerbread cookies. I searched several of my favorite blogs and found this recipe from Orangette. I ran to the store to get what I needed and finally plugged the Kitchen Aid in and watched the magic.

Ginger-Molasses Cookies

Ginger-Molasses Cookies
From Orangette

NOTE: The batter needs to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours, so keep that in mind when planning!

2 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour (all-purpose is fine too)
1 ½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
½ cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
6 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp peeled and grated ginger
1/3 cup molasses
½ cup unrefined cane sugar (or granulated sugar)

Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a bowl and set side.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a regular bowl and use a hand mixer), beat the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until fully incorporated each time. Then add the ginger and molasses and mix well.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, adding about 1/3 of the dry ingredients each time. When it is all added, cover the bowl in plastic wrap in set in the fridge for at least two hours. Molly says it can be kept in the fridge for 4 days at this point. I left it there overnight.

Ginger-Molasses Cookies

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the cane sugar in a shallow pan (I used a cake pan). Roll the dough into balls about 2 inches in diameter, eight at a time. Roll each ball in the sugar, coating it completely. Keep the dough in the fridge when you are not using it, otherwise it will warm up and become sticky and hard to work with. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for 15-17 minutes (Mine were perfectly done at 15). Eight at a time should fit on a sheet.

When done, pull the parchment paper off the sheet and onto the counter to let cool. Take the cookies off the paper when cool enough and reuse for the next batch. I ended up with around 28 cookies (Molly said 22).

Friday, June 11, 2010

The United States of Arugula

May's Foodie Book Club book was The United States of Arugula.

This book was a bit different than the previous selections in that it was more of a history book. The last two were very current and this book gets there eventually but starts at the roots of the foodie movement and goes all the way up to today, discussing Thomas Keller and Rachael Ray. I will admit I haven't finished it yet, but so far I've found it very fascinating. It traces the roots of 'foodie' culture back to the very beginning, discussing its founders such as James Beard and Julia Child. Maybe it is just that I am fairly new to the foodie scene, but I'd never thought much about where it came from, so reading about the very early history has been very interesting. It seems like a lot of pieces about foodie-ism seem nostalgic towards the "good old days" but I was surprised to find a lot of similarities between the public's ideas about food then and now. Even James Beard and the other first foodies were more outcasts than representatives of popular opinion.

Unfortunately, I don't have much more to say at the moment. It was a busy month with finals and wedding planning, but I do plan on finishing it as soon as I get a chance. Perhaps I will write up a better review then. I have this month's book already and am looking forward to reading it, so I promise to at least have a better review next time!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Vegan Banana Coconut Oatmeal Pancakes

Vegan Oatmeal Pancakes

I'd been planning to make this recipe straight out of the book, but I was out of milk and lazy. I decided if I was going to use the soy or almond milk in my fridge, I might as well ditch the eggs too and veganize the whole thing. As I was waiting for the skillet to heat up, I spied my glass jar of unsweetened shredded coconut and decided to add some in at the last minute. These pancakes are a lot different than the light, fluffy type I usually go for. The oat flour and oatmeal make them especially dense and...well, oatmealy. Different, but delicious. I also highly recommend chocolate chips.

Vegan Banana Coconut Oatmeal Pancakes
Adapted from Good to the Grain

3/4 cup oat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour (whole wheat pastry would work too)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tbsp canola oil
1 1/4 cups nondairy milk (I used soy)
1 cup cooked oatmeal
1 tbsp unsulphured molasses (not blackstrap)
1 banana, mashed

Chocolate chips (optional)

Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, oatmeal, molasses, and banana. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and be careful not to overmix. If not using immediately, it can be kept in the fridge overnight, but may need to be thinned with milk.

Vegan Oatmeal Pancakes

Heat a skillet over medium heat. When hot, scoop the batter (about 1/4 cup at a time) and cook until bubbles form and then flip.

Vegan Oatmeal Pancakes