I must apologize for my lack of posts as of late. I had brought my laptop with on our holiday travels with the intention of blogging while in the land of nothing. Not only did I not do any blogging, but we forgot the computer in the land of nothing! eek! It took two weeks and a dozen people to relay it back to us, safe and sound. I have so many things to share with you, so expect a flurry of posts in January! Also, as part of my goals for 2011, I plan to blog at least six times every month.
I had a few days off toward the end of 2010, so I decided what any lover of cooking would do: organize my spices!
I have a lot of spices and dried herbs that I like to keep on hand for inspiration: 47 spices to be exact. I used to keep them in several eclectic spice racks: a cute wooden cupboard-style rack, a pretty, modern rack, and the rest in a cupboard that required a chair to reach. So, when cooking a recipe with a myriad of spices, I was often found dashing from one end of my kitchen to the other to retrieve all the spices. It wasn't pretty and totally screwed up the zen-like flow I had established.
Thus, enter IKEA. :)
It only holds 36 spices, so I did eliminate spices that I don't use very often. I love being able to SEE my spices. All the other racks I had hid the actual jars so all I could see was the tops of the jar. Now, I have beautiful colors to look at when I wash the dishes! I know that the light will make the spices have a shorter shelf-life, but I don't care. It makes me smile every time I look at it! That is ultimately more important than having to use a little extra paprika to reach the right potency.
So, onto the main event: the cookie war!
I decided to make some ginger cookies for the plethora of holiday events I'm forced to attend every year. I had two recipes, one from each of my favorite blogs. I had made and liked both before. But, which one is better? Only a cookie war could find a winner.
Cookie #1: Wedded Bliss Soft Ginger Cookie
This deliciously soft ginger cookie makes everyone who tastes them say "oh yum!" Not kidding. It has a strong molasses flavor that is punctuated with ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Oh, and did I mention that they freeze fabulously?
Cookie #2: Sparkling Ginger Chip Cookies
These are also soft cookies that have a wonderful crunch from the turbinado sugar coating. Made with whole wheat pastry flour, these have a slight nutritional advantage over the Wedded Bliss cookies. Plus, with both ground and fresh ginger, you tastebuds will thank you, especially when they run into one of the chocolate chunks...
Both cookies had similar preparation methods. Mix the fat with the sugar. Mix the wet into the sugar mixture. Mix the wet into the dry.
While the preparation methods were similar, the Sparkling cookies took longer to put together because I needed to mince the fresh ginger and chop the chocolate. The total time (including baking) for the Sparkling cookies was 80 minutes; whereas, the total time for the Wedded Bliss cookies was 60 minutes.
The Wedded Bliss cookie recipe is vegan (although I did use real butter), and the Sparkling cookie recipe could easily be adapted to vegan simply by substituting a flax egg (1 tsp ground flax + 4 tbsp almond milk) and using vegan butter. I prefer to use flax eggs in my cooking because then I can eat the dough without worries and save my eggs for omelets.
Seriously, how could you not want to taste dough that looks like chocolate mousse?!
I liked the appearance of the Sparkling cookies better. I rolled them into balls and then rolled the balls in turbinado sugar before baking. For the Wedded Bliss cookies, I rolled them into balls, then flattened them slightly and sprinkled a little bit of sugar on the top. If I were to make the Wedded Bliss cookies again, I would simply not flatten them and add a little more sugar to the tops.
And the winner is....
Cookie #1: Wedded Bliss Soft Ginger Cookies!
Both cookies are delicious and unless you eat them side-by-side, you won't notice anything. However, I preferred the flavor of the Wedded Bliss cookies. I thought the chocolate in the Sparkling cookies actually detracted from the cookie; my tastebuds had too many things going on to focus on anything. One bite of a Wedded Bliss cookie and I was sold. The combination of spices enhanced the flavor and the texture was perfect. My husband also chose the Wedded Bliss cookies (even without knowing my choice!).
But, try them out for yourself!