14 May 2011

Weekend Cooking: Ginger Crisps & Hedgehogs

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I rarely roll out cookies (mostly because I'm lazy), but when my friend Dawn from She Is Too Fond of Books told me that she spotted a hedgehog cookie cutter at IKEA, I told her I had to have one. I was thrilled that she was kind enough to buy the set of animal cutters for me and then gave them to me as a present. Why hedgehogs? Because hedgehogs are a classic mascot for bobbin-lace makers. If you look at the photo of a piece of my lace in progress, you'll get the idea.

As you know, I am a huge fan of King Arthur Flour—their flours, their equipment, and their recipes. I subscribe to their Baking Sheet, and I own most of their cookbooks. I turned to their Cookie Companion book for the recipe for these lovely Scandinavian-inspired ginger cookies when it came time to try out my new cookie cutters. These cookies are not too sweet and are nicely spiced. Just the way I like them.

Ginger Snaps
5 dozen
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups (10½ oz) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange rind (zest)
  • ¼ teaspoon orange oil (optional)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground black pepper (for heat)
  • 2 tablespoons (1½ oz) molasses
  • 1 tablespoon (½ oz) water
  • 3¼ cup (13¾ oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg, orange zest, orange oil, and pepper, then the molasses and water.

Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Beat until everything is well combined and the mixture has formed a stiff dough. Divide the dough into two pieces, shape each piece into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes until it's soft enough to roll easily. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into a circle ⅛ inch thick. Use a 2- to 3-inch cookie cutter to cut shapes, close together, getting as many cookies from the first roll-out as you can. Transfer cookies to the baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between them. Gather the scraps together, reroll, and cut again, until you've used up all the dough. Repeat with the other disk.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until they're just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges. Remove them from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Beth F's notes: I used the full amount of pepper, the orange oil, and the allspice instead of the cloves. Hedgehog photo courtesy of National Geographic and freely available for downloading.

The first three cookies I tried were a squirrel, a heart, and (of course) a hedgehog.


Marg 5/14/11, 5:46 AM  

Yum! Cute cookies!

caite 5/14/11, 6:25 AM  

oh, I love the little hedgehogs!
I love ginger cookies...and I love cute cookie cutouts...and I love KAF. A perfect combo!

Rikki 5/14/11, 6:45 AM  

What a cute idea, hedgehog shaped cookies. On our various markets we can always buy all sorts of animal shapes individually which is always fun.

Mary (Bookfan) 5/14/11, 7:38 AM  

You had me at ginger crisps and the hedgehog shape are so cute!

bermudaonion 5/14/11, 7:40 AM  

I love ginger crisps, but rarely roll out cookies. I'm not sure what I do, but they always come out tough when I try to make them.

Debi 5/14/11, 7:51 AM  

Mmmm...those sound so good, I swear I can almost smell them! I hate rolling out cookies, too, but I think I may just have to make an exception for these. (Of course, I don't think I have any cookie cutters that come even close to being as cute as that hedgehog!)

TheBookGirl 5/14/11, 7:52 AM  

I love King Arthur products also. Years ago, they had an online forum/baking circle that I used to love. I often wonder why they took that down.
My daughter and I love ginger cookies; my husband prefers anything with chocolate :)

Kate 5/14/11, 8:07 AM  

Really neat pictures of the lace-making and hedgehog! I quite enjoyed that.

Beth 5/14/11, 8:59 AM  

Those cookies are cute! You need to decorate them up with a bit of icing!

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook 5/14/11, 9:16 AM  

Cute cookies! I love Ginger cookies! Spicy ones :) Fan of KA flours, too!

Uniflame 5/14/11, 9:24 AM  

I approve of these cookies ^^

Zibilee 5/14/11, 9:25 AM  

Oh, I love the hedgehog cutters! They are too cute! Thanks for sharing this recipe with us!

Barbara 5/14/11, 9:31 AM  

I've never known anyone who makes lace. It must take tons of patience, but it's beautiful already. Hedgehogs are so cute - irresistible even when they aren't cookies.

Col (Col Reads) 5/14/11, 9:43 AM  

You are a woman of amazing talents! I do love ginger cookies, but the hedgehog cookie cutter would make almost any cookie awesome!

Karen Greenberg 5/14/11, 9:53 AM  

I SO wish I enjoyed baking. I would make this cookies today. Unfortunately I will have to wait and buy some at the store. :-(

Beth Hoffman 5/14/11, 9:58 AM  

Oh, I adore hedgehogs! And I love how the hedgehog mirrors the pins in your lace-making.

Ginger snaps are a favorite and I've never made them! I'm going to give this recipe a whirl -- I'll bet I can make it gluten-free without a problem.

Thanks! Happy weekend.

Rebecca Rasmussen 5/14/11, 10:13 AM  

Those are so cute and delicious looking! I need to get a set of those cookie cutters! Happy Saturday!

Margot 5/14/11, 10:51 AM  

Thus is an interesting post on so many levels- the lace making and it's mascot, the KA flour and cookbooks, the generosity of Dawn, and this interesting cookie recipe. Enjoyable to read. I don't roll out cookies much anymore either but I'm going to have to try the combination of ingredients in this one. I've only used pepper in one other cookie recipe and it was very unique. I'm glad you shared this one.

Alex 5/14/11, 11:33 AM  

You are definitely a girl after my own heart with your recipes for ginger. Ginger is one of my favorite things and I will definitely give ginger snaps a try since store bought ones are never gingerly enough for me.
Thanks for this recipe.

Diann @ The Thrifty Groove 5/14/11, 1:08 PM  

I don't think I have ever seen a hedgehog cookie before! They sure cute!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 5/14/11, 1:31 PM  

Oh, yum! They look wonderful, and the recipe sounds scrumptious!

I haven't made rolled cookies in ages - these look like they're well worth the extra effort.

So glad you're enjoying the hedgie cutter! It was Hilary at Spirit of 76 Books who told me they were at IKEA (that fun day of her hedgehog party with Stanley).

Heather 5/14/11, 1:34 PM  

Hedgehog cookie cutters. wow. Love the variety of cookie cutters that can be found. My fav is the maple leaf cutter I bought last summer. Very Canadian

Margot 5/14/11, 2:41 PM  

Candice, I discovered I used the wrong perma-link in Mr. Linky. You will see my name listed a second time.

JoAnn 5/14/11, 2:53 PM  

I've become a big fan of King Arthur over the years, but don't own this cookie cookbook (yet). The recipe looks delicious, the cookie cutters are adorable, and the lace... You are so talented!

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 5/14/11, 5:19 PM  

I love ginger cookies too. And the hedgehog is cute, never seen one of those before. I don't have the patience for rolled out cookies; once a year at Christmas, that's it.

Anonymous,  5/14/11, 6:32 PM  

I've never rolled out a cookie in my life. That comes under the heading of things that sound like Too Much Work. :-D
Those hedgehogs are pretty stinkin' cute, though.

Louise 5/14/11, 6:51 PM  

I love ginger biscuits. The animal shapes look fun, sure to make the biscuits even more delicious.

Meg @ A Bookish Affair 5/14/11, 8:04 PM  

The hedgehog cookies are adorable!

Julie P. 5/14/11, 8:19 PM  

Too darn cute although I admit I did a double take when I saw the post title.

Anonymous,  5/15/11, 7:05 AM  

Yum! I love King Arthur Flour as well. I have their whole grain baking book and it has never led me wrong.

I just went to a Revolutionary war re-enactment yesterday (as a spectator) and they had THE BEST molasses-ginger cookies. I think I am going to have start re-creating those beauties. Yours look delightful.

Heather 5/15/11, 10:45 AM  

Oh my goodness those are too cute for words! I love ginger cookies anyway, but hedgehog ones? Total win!

Ikkin-bot 5/16/11, 12:45 AM  

one of my better sunday dinners! You should try it too

largehearted boy 5/16/11, 9:30 AM  

I didn't even know that King Arthur had a cookie cookbooks, I swear by their others! Thanks for helping me add yet another cookbook to our collection.

Joy Weese Moll 5/18/11, 1:17 PM  

Those looks so fun and delicious!

I'm late to the party this week. I had my post go up while we were out of town this weekend, but couldn't get it into the link list until today.

Anonymous,  5/19/11, 8:41 PM  

thanks for hosting, glad i found your blog via there's always thyme to cook!

Robin M 5/19/11, 9:09 PM  

All I can say is Yummy! I'm drooling.

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