kohikari: text: "I read crappy fanfiction in / my spare time. / It's crap, / I know it's crap, / and yet I / can't stop." (guilty habit)
[personal profile] kohikari
Alternative Title: Bomb-Ass Holiday Cookies

The first thing you should know about me in the kitchen is that I am Lazy As Fuck.  Left to my own devices, I eat instant ramen and boxed macaroni-&-cheese out of the saucepan I make them in, so I don't have to wash dishes.  I don't use a colander because I'd have to clean that too, so instead I've taught myself how to drain the macaroni very carefully using a chopstick to hold it in place.  I hate extra work and I hate cleaning up.  Also I seesaw between freaking out over doing something wrong and going "fuck it, I don't even care anymore," so my approach to cooking is kind of...I don't cook much.

But I FUCKING LOVE CHRISTMAS COOKIES, and my mom is usually too wiped from the end-of-year overtime-work-and-cooking-holiday-dinner routine to do it herself, so I had to take over.  And the cutout sugar cookies with the colorful powdered-sugar-and-lime-juice icing are delicious and nostalgic and awesome, but when it's already after sundown on Christmas Day and I've been working all week and procrastinating my ass off...it's just easier to make a batch of these instead.

The first thing you should know about me in general is that I am incredibly judgemental, bad at keeping a lid on it, and enjoy editorializing far too much.  Expect annotations to get out of control as per usual.


* NOTE: this is adapted from this Whole Foods recipe, but I'm ignoring all the fussy bullshit & also what is wrong with these people that there's no molasses in their spice cookies? who the hell wants their gingerbread to be blond???

EQUIPMENT:

  • one (1) oven, preheated to 350°F

  • two (2) largeish mixing bowls

  • one (1) electric mixer

  • measuring cups/spoons/what-have-you, with cup, tablespoon, & teaspoon units

  • one (1) baking sheet

  • one (1) potholder

  • plastic wrap or equivalent

  • wax paper or equivalent

  • some kind of timer--smartphone, microwave, cutesy plastic egg, whatever you have on hand

  • one (1) whisk (optional?)

  • one (1) butter knife (optional)

  • one (1) spatula, if you're feeling fancy (optional)

  • one (1) regular-size bowl for rolling cookies in sugar (optional)

  • one (1) apron (optional...ish...depending on how messy you are)


INGREDIENTS:
DRY

  • two (2) cups all-purpose flour

  • one-and-a-half (1 & 1/2) teaspoons baking powder

  • one (1) tablespoon ground ginger

  • one-and-a-half (1 & 1/2) teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • three-quarters (3/4) teaspoon ground cloves *OR* allspice

  • one-quarter (1/4) teaspoon salt (the regular fine-grained stuff, nothing fancy)

  • one-eighthish (1/8ish) teaspoon freshly, finely ground black pepper

  • one-quarter? ish? (1/4?) teaspoon ground cardamom, more or less to taste (optional)

LESS DRY

  • three-quarters (3/4) cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

  • three-quarters (3/4) cup unsalted butter, softened (that's one-and-a-half (1 & 1/2) short sticks)

  • one (1) mediumish egg, room temperature

  • one (1) tablespoon molasses (I use blackstrap but America's Test Kitchen judges me for it)

  • one-half? ish? (1/2?) teaspoon vanilla extract, more or less to taste

EXTRA

  • some granulated sugar, enough to roll the cookies in (optional)


DIRECTIONS:

QUICK RUNDOWN

  • blend dry ingredients in one mixing bowl

  • suck it up & get out the mixer

  • cream butter & sugar in the other mixing bowl

  • dump in the egg, vanilla, & molasses and mix that in

  • dump the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients & mix well (but not too well)

  • scrape dough into two log-type-objects, wrap in plastic wrap, & stick it in the freezer

  • clean up the mess & twiddle your thumbs for 30-60 minutes

  • break the dough into cookie-sized chunks, mold chunks into cookie shape, roll in sugar, and put on baking sheet

  • bake for 15ish minutes until they're doneish

  • enjoy ♥


DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS (for people like me who angst over the directions on the back of the shampoo bottle)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (You could probably get away with doing this step while you're waiting for the dough to chill, but if you're like me & you don't have heat but you DO have anxiety/depression clusterfuckery, do this first for warmth & motivation to keep going. The oven hasn't given up, so you shouldn't either!)

  2. Get all your ingredients & equipment ready--set out the spices, the measuring cups, the mixing bowls, the baking sheet, the plastic wrap & wax paper, everything where you can get at it easily. (And definitely make sure the egg & butter are warming up on the counter. It's a pain in the ass to get to that step and realize that you've forgotten them in the fridge.)

  3. Measure out the dry ingredients into one of the mixing bowls--2 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp ginger, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 3/4 tsp allspice/cloves, however much cardamom you want, 1/4 tsp salt, and as much ground pepper as you can bring yourself to produce: it is an ENORMOUS pain in the ass to grind a whole eighth of a teaspoon, but it really does taste better than using storebought preground pepper or leaving it out entirely. (As stated above, I'm lazy so I just break down the cups & teaspoons into multiples of 1/4 and only use the 1/4 cup, 1/4 teaspoon, & whole tablespoon measures so I don't have to wash more than absolutely necessary, but you may benefit from actually using the whole cup, whole teaspoon, and half teaspoon measures as well.  It's harder to lose count when you're measuring out two of something than when you're measuring out eight.)

  4. Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients so that they're fully blended together. Smash any decently-sized lumps you may see--my ginger was super lumpy--& don't inhale too much, because with that much ginger/cinnamon/pepper you'll start sneezing. The official recipe wants you to use an actual whisk, but I just used one of the electric mixer's mixing...attachment...whiskythings to do it.

  5. Measure out the brown sugar & butter into the other mixing bowl--3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed into the measuring cup so you know you're getting that much sugar instead of a bunch of air, & 1 1/2 sticks of softened butter. I think most butter includes measurements on the wrapper for clarity. ("Softened" means not fresh-out-of-the-fridge hard; it should be at least "room temperature", i.e. not cold, & should give slightly if you press it. If it's still a little cold you can microwave it for NO MORE than 5-15 seconds, but you should keep a close eye on it--if it melts, you have to get more butter & try again!)

  6. Plug the mixer in and thoroughly mix the brown sugar and butter until it's a fairly uniform light brown color and there's no obvious blotches of un-mixed-in butter. It should take about a minute, according to the official recipe? This is called "creaming" for some reason--you can eat it, it's delicious (if unhealthy), but the sugar is still pretty granular and uncreamy. (It took me awhile before I was confident enough to use the mixer on my own without my mother backing me up and cheering me on--ours is one of those you have to hold in your hand while it does the mixing, and the other hand needs to be holding the bowl still, and if you're not in control of it it veers and splatters, and I am not exactly renowned for my upper body strength and also I panic easily... These days I wrap my entire left arm around the bowl and pin it against my stomach to hold it in place while the other hand uses the mixer on the lowest setting I can possibly get away with, taking frequent breaks. I have zero dignity in the kitchen.)

  7. Add in the rest of the wet ingredients--1 egg, 1 tbsp molasses, 1/2 tsp vanilla. If bits of eggshell fall into the bowl, you can pick them out with chopsticks. I like to use the mixer (or a butter knife or something) to sort of squash the yolk into breaking before moving on to the next step, but that's mostly because I have paranoid visions of losing control while mixing and the whole yolk going flying onto the kitchen floor. (Note: molasses pours out faster than you'd think, considering how many English idioms there are about it being slow--it's somewhere between maple syrup & honey in viscosity.)

  8. Turn the mixer back on and mix the wet ingredients all together, just enough to make sure they're actually semiblended. The official recipe says 30 seconds should do it?

  9. Dump in about a third to half of the dry ingredients and mix until they're combined. You don't want to overbeat it, but definitely make sure there are no huge pockets of unblended flour. Keep doing this until you're all out of dry ingredients. (If you add the dry ingredients in all at once, it'll get everywhere; add it in four or five parts if you need to, but the end goal here is for most of the ingredients to go into your stomach instead of onto your floor.)

  10. Get out the plastic wrap & tear off two reasonably sized pieces. Use your hands (or a capable utensil) to scrape, shape, squash, and/or bully the dough out of the mixing bowl and into two rough log shapes on the pieces of plastic wrap, then wrap the logs up and stick them in the freezer (or fridge, if you have a few more hours to spare). (I use a butter knife to scrape the dough off the mixer attachments-whiskythings, and to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl.)

  11. If you're using the fridge, the dough needs to chill for two (2) hours; if you're using the freezer, it's more like thirty (30) minutes; if your freezer is as shitty as mine is, aim for 45 instead.

  12. Clean-up time! I know, it sucks, but it's necessary. (The dry-ingredients mixing bowl can probably get away with a quick wipe with a dry dishcloth/towel, but the wet-ingredients bowl needs to be scrubbed out, rinsed, and dried, and the measuring cups/spoons should be wiped off too. Detach the whiskythings from the (unplugged!) mixer and clean them off, and make sure the mixer itself isn't caked in dough before you put it away.) (I put away every ingredient after it's measured out, so there's less to do later. It's a bit easier to clean up when there's only a few things to take care of, instead of a small army of bottles & canisters & spice jars still sitting out.)

  13. When the dough is sufficiently chilled, set up your cookie-making station: baking sheet lined with wax paper on one side, bowl of sugar in front of you, one unwrapped log of dough on the other side. (You don't need more than a handful or so of sugar to start with, and can always add more to the bowl if you run out.) (I stand during the measuring and mixing parts, but I always sit down for this--there's really no reason not to.)

  14. One by one, break off a cookie-sized chunk of dough from the log, roll and squash it with your hands until it looks cookie-shaped, then roll it in the sugar until it's coated on both sides. Put it on the baking sheet, & repeat. (If you run out of dough before you run out of room, unwrap the other log and use it; if you run out of room before you run out of dough, rewrap the dough and stick it back in the freezer until this batch is baked.)*

  15. Once you have a whole baking sheet's worth of cookies, stick it in the oven for about fifteen (15) minutes. (The beepy timer is your friend here.) How long they take to cook depends on the size of the cookies; if they're ginormous like mine, they may need 20 minutes, but smaller cookies will bake more quickly. (I usually open the oven door and check on them 10 minutes in just in case, & every few minutes after that. If you poke the edge of one with your finger & it feels supersoft (like...well, raw dough), they're not done yet. The edges should be semisturdy by the time you take them out. Attempting to lift one up with a utensil also works--if it moves like a whole cookie instead of trying to pull apart glorpily, it's getting there. Note: whole cookie movement can include falling apart, but, like...more dryly?)

  16. Take the cookies out when the edges are sturdy to the touch and the undersides look solid. They'll still be pretty soft in the middle, but that's okay! Let them cool off and check again--if they're still overmoist in the center then, you can stick them back in the oven for a few minutes. (They're pretty cakey, not chewy at all; this might have something to do with the extra water from the molasses? IDK, I haven't made a nonmolasses batch in a longass time and my Cookie Physics is not up to snuff.)

  17. Depending on cookie size, this recipe makes anywhere between 10 & 25 cookies. (Trust me when I say that if you let anyone other than yourself eat them, they won't last longer than a couple days. These are super tasty~ ♥)


If any Actual CooksTM wind up reading this, please feel free to correct any errors in my baking logic.  I may be doing this horribly wrong; all I really know is that the cookies turn out edible enough.

* (This is where the official recipe wants you to slice your "6-inch discs" of cookie dough into "24 equal wedges," roll them into "5-inch rope[s]," and twist them in pairs. If you're anything like me, that sentence made you want to start hyperventilating a little. What the hell do they expect you to do, use a ruler???)
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