Wednesday, June 23, 2010
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.
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 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.
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).