Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ginger Overload: SMS Guinness Gingerbread and a Lost Recipe

This week’s Sweet Melissa Sunday recipe was Guinness Gingerbread. I was happy this recipe was selected because I adore gingerbread, but probably wouldn’t have made it again until the winter. I am also always happy when people select recipes in the “Dessert for Breakfast” category of the book, because it means I can justify having cake for breakfast. Since the imminent Tuesdays With Dorie recipe is also a breakfast bread, I decided I would make this earlier in the week (“earlier in the week” was intended to be Monday and ended up being Wednesday) and make the TWD one on the weekend. This baking schedule turned out to be a good decision, since now it’s super-hot here and the idea of making gingerbread is unappealing.

Safeway wouldn’t sell me a single can of Guinness, so I used an IPA (India Pale Ale) that was in our refrigerator; I didn’t want to go on a big single can Guinness-search – or more likely send my boyfriend on one – and I have subbed in lighter beer in another gingerbread recipe with fine results. The other changes I made were omitting the cocoa powder and adding a couple tablespoons of fresh ground ginger: if I’m making gingerbread, I want strong ginger taste! I think the gingerbread came out very tasty. I don’t think it will replace my favorite gingerbread recipe, which is Cook’s Country’s Bold and Spicy Gingerbread, but I definitely enjoyed eating it and it was much better than my average weekday breakfast!

I gave this recipe a 7.5 for Deliciousness and 2 for Effort, giving it an EDR of 3.75. Many thanks to Katie of Katiecakes for giving me an opportunity to make gingerbread before the holidays. If you would like the recipe, go to Katie’s site, and if you would like to see what the other bakers thought of it, visit the SMS blogroll.

Now for ginger, round two. My mom used to make these ginger cookies with oatmeal in them, that I absolutely loved. They were soft and chewy, with just the right amount of oats for texture. And then, to make a long story short, about eleven years ago the cookbook they came from disappeared in a move and the recipe was lost! I couldn’t remember the exact cookbook it came from (I did know it was an old one) and I spent some time trying to recreate the recipe. I actually had pretty good success with it and they were in my repertoire for a while. Then I lost my recreated recipe at some point and hadn’t been bothered to try again. However, they’re back! One of our local libraries has a used book sale every month and yesterday I found this familiar-looking cookbook – for $ .50, which included a recipe called Oatmeal Gingersnaps. There was also a recipe for something called “health cookies,” which I recall being amused by.

I called my mom to tell her about this miraculous find and she totally remembered the cookies and the cookbook and said, “Yes! It was an all-cookie book.” Despite the fact that it was close to ninety degrees yesterday, I was planning on baking cookies anyway, and these ones jumped to the top of the queue. I just had to confirm if they were “the ones” and if they were as good as I remembered. I am happy to report that they are as wonderful as I remembered them to be. And easy: it’s a one-bowl recipe. I give these gingersnaps a 9 for Deliciousness and a 2 for Effort, giving the recipe an EDR of 4.5.

Oatmeal Gingersnaps, adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Homemade Cookies Cookbook

11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar (I used ¾ white sugar and ¼ light brown sugar)
¾ cup quick-cooking rolled oats*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger (I halved the recipe and still used a whole teaspoon)
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter (the original recipe called for shortening)
¾ cup molasses
1 egg
Sugar for dusting

Combine the first seven ingredients together in a medium bowl (if you’re using a stand mixer, use its bowl since you won’t be using another). Add in the butter, molasses, and egg, and beat with electric mixer (paddle attachment for stand mixer) for two minutes. Optional: chill the dough (the recipe doesn’t say, but I left the dough in the refrigerator for a couple hours). When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Shape the cookies into approximately one-inch sized balls and roll in granulated sugar. Place cookies on baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. They will spread very evenly and be thin but soft. Leave on baking sheet for one minute, then transfer to rack to cool.

*When I tried to recreate the recipe, the oatmeal texture was the most difficult part. I knew they were not overly “oaty” so I never wanted to add too many oats. I hadn’t realized the original called for quick-cooking oats, which have a subtler texture than regular. I would definitely use quick-cooking oats unless you want more of an oatmeal cookie quality.


Unknown said...

Nice job with the gingerbread! It looks so pretty and festive with dusting of confectioner's sugar. Isn't cake for breakfast delightful? :)

Jessica said...

Oh. My. Goodness!!! I love that cookbook!! My mom used that cookbook when I was really, really little and I can remember flipping through it and looking at the pictures of the cookies before I could read. Those cookies sound delightful.
I love gingerbread and I'm always eager to discover the "favorite" gingerbread recipe. I didn't have time to make this week's SMS but I am definitely adding your Cook's Country Gingerbread to my list of gingerbreads to try this fall.

Kaitlin said...

Your gingerbread looks gorgeous, and congratulations on finding that long-lost cookbook! I've never heard of oatmeal gingersnaps, and these look delicious. Gotta try them.

Pamela said...

I just love gingersnaps, and these look wonderful! What a great thing that you found that book, too!! Nice job on the gingerbread and it's good to know it would work with any beer.

Fit Chick said...

I have to try that cookie recipe, sounds delicious and my kind of ginger flavor. Thanks for sharing. Your gingerbread looks great!

Megan said...

Oh thanks for the cookie recipe - I love all things gingery, so this will go to the top of my list too.

Once it cools down, that is.

Who am I kidding? I'll make these this week!

Elyse said...

Awww, I'm so glad you found your special oatmeal gingersnaps recipe!! I love recipes that not only taste fabulous but also bring back wonderful memories. Your gingerbread also looks delicious. I'd actually like to experiment with the types of beer I use in the gingerbread...shouldn't be a problem because Todd loves beer :) Everything looks totally delicious! Sorry that I’ve been an absent commenter; I just finished up my law school exams and am finally getting around to my google reader.

Nancy/n.o.e said...

First, you've added fruit, so that breakfast is beyond legit, and second, THANKS for the cookie recipe. I think our ginger tastebuds are similar, and I'll be adding those to the list.

Katiecakes said...

haha, I've been eating mine for breakfast too :D

Your cookies look lovely, I adore gingersnaps. Dipped in tea they're heavenly!

Katie xox

Cristine said...

Your gingerbread looks great! How exciting to find that old cookbook!

Lulu the Baker said...

Great job on the gingerbread. And how exciting to find a long-lost recipe! Lots of my favorite cookie recipes come from an old Betty Crocker cook book from the 60's that used to be really hard to find. Luckily, they started printing it again a few years ago!

Hanaâ said...

Great job on the gingerbread. Love the powdered sugar touch. Btw, the link to the Cook's Country recipe appears to be broken.
The ginger/oatmeal cookies looked great too. Turns out, I have that book too but haven't baked anything from it yet.
Thanks for the bday wishes. Will post the bday cake soon.

Shandy said...

First, thank you for the welcome to the group! I love being part of all the baking fun. Next, I just have to tell you that I used to make my Dad "the" best oatmeal cookies from this exact cookbook. I could not believe it when I saw the photo in your blog because I too lost the cookbook and just found it again about 6 months ago. I now have a death grip on it and a back-up copy of the oatmeal cookies recipe. They are rolled in sugar before being baked.

Mermaid Sews said...

I am so glad you found the recipe, I am quite jealous about the used cookbook sale, wish there was one in my parts. Love the double ginger post. I will have to try those cookies as ginger is my favorite kind.