Fog hangs heavy and low in the air, gilded leaves adorn the trees, and I’ve pulled my slippers out from the back of the closet. It’s fall and I’m in love. I’m in love with my natal season, I’m in love with husband and excited to celebrate our first wedding anniversary in a few days, I’m in love with slippers and sweaters and tea and cozy blankets, and I’m in love with baked goods and warm spices. Heidi Swanson’s blog 101 Cookbooks has been a favorite of mine for years and her new cookbook Near and Far has already become a standard in my kitchen, with dog eared pages soon to be sticky and stained. Her recipes are healthy and wholesome but also ebullient and full of vibrant unique flavors, she gracefully captures the essence of some of my favorite cuisines, from San Francisco to Morocco, Japan, Italy, France and India, and her photos are simple yet elegant. These ginger snaps exemplify my ideal cookie. They’re easy to make, chewy on the inside and crisp around the edges, slightly sweetened with honey and molasses, and spiked with a generous amount of ginger. I added some chopped chocolate because…well, why not?
In other news, I’m hosting another benefit brunch on October 11th in collaboration with Kristan of The Broken Bread. We have a beautiful fall menu planned and some great sponsors lined up so get your tickets before they sell out!
STRONG GINGER SNAPS
Slightly adapted from Near and Far
Makes 4-5 dozen
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (see note below)
5 tablespoons ground ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Scant 1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup honey, at room temperature
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to mix until light and fluffy. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, then mix into the butter mixture in two additions, mixing just enough to produce a crumbly texture. Add the honey and molasses and mix just long enough for the dough to come together cohesively. Add the chopped chocolate and stir to combine.
Use your hands to roll a tablespoon of dough at a time into balls and arrange, well apart, on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven, let sit for a couple of minutes before serving. Bake the remaining cookies or freeze the dough for later use.
*I’ve been reading about heritage wheat varieties in Dan Barber’s new book and how they’re better for the soil and more nutritionally rich, so I used this locally grown and milled wheat in this recipe with great success.