Some things just go together – mashed potatoes and gravy, tomatoes and basil, summer and grilled foods; the list is endless and you are all probably thinking of much better examples than the few I listed here. I’ve always thought that autumn and gingersnaps and/or molasses cookies had a natural affinity for each other. Maybe it’s because gingery things taste good with cider (although they also taste good with a glass of cold milk) and cider is in season now.
Regardless of the reason, when I thought I was hosting a section of the Rise Above It classes for the next ten weeks I got pretty excited, thinking I would be able to work my way through that store of chocolate chips I recently unearthed, as well as having an excuse just to bake and not eat all the baked goods myself. However, the schedule got changed and though I’m not hosting I still decided to make some cookies and take them with me.
What does this have to do with ginger cookies, you may be asking yourselves? Well, another thing I discovered when I put my kitchen back together recently was a baffling surplus of candied ginger; I seem to remember not being able to find it last winter, so when I did see it in a couple of places I must have kept buying it. I found a recipe on The Baking Sheet called Spiced Up Ginger Cookies and it’s delicious. The only changes I made are that I omitted the ground black pepper, not having any already ground and not really wanting to use fresh-ground pepper-mill pepper, and I was a little leery of the recipe calling for 1 tablespoon of baking soda (!), that seemed like too much to me, so I cut it back to two teaspoons and it seemed fine. Nic suggests chilling the dough before rolling and I concur, it’s pretty sloppy when you first mix it up, and I think it would be difficult to roll into balls without chilling first.
The second thing I baked this week was Bill Granger’s Coconut Bread from The Wednesday Chef. I was quite excited to make this, as I have really learned to love coconut in the past few years and Luisa’s description had my mouth watering. I had a friend coming over for coffee Friday morning so it seemed like a good time to try it. But I don’t know if it’s because I added 1/2 teaspoon salt (no salt at all in the recipe, including unsalted butter) or because I kept opening the oven to check for doneness and in my impatience just possibly took the bread out a few minutes too soon, or maybe over-mixed the batter before baking, but my finished product was a little disappointing. Yes, the smell was wonderful, and yes, it was sweet and subtle at the same time, but mine came out a little tough and rubbery and just kind of pedestrian. But I’m chalking it up to user error on my part, especially now that I’m writing this, I think I should give the recipe a second shot. I still don’t know about that salt, though.