Chewy Ginger Cookies

Chewy Ginger Cookies from Brittany's PantryAh!  Cookies from Joy!  ‘Joy’ refers to The Joy of Cooking , the source of the modified recipe below and an excellent cookbook for every one-experienced or not-to have on a shelf in their kitchen.  ‘Ginger’ is in reference to the main flavor of these fabulous cookies.  And calling them ‘Jewels’ is because I am pretty sure you could use them as currency in some countries.  Yup.  They are that good.  I don’t know what the exchange rate would be because I would rather give up money than these cookies, but it has got to be pretty high.  Maybe 3 cookies on the dollar?

Now I must explain myself, as ginger is a spice I love, but…well…it isn’t my absolute favorite.  Chocolate, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin; all of these are cookies I am more likely to choose before picking up a ginger cookie.  I suppose the main reason is because I grew up not really liking ginger snaps.  You know, those hard as a rock, kinda bitter, spicy cookies that are the size of a silver dollar?  No thanks.  Never being a fan of food with the texture of cement, I generally ignored these types of cookies.  And ginger was not a flavor my parents incorporated into the menus of my youth very often.  Asian food, a cuisine that uses ginger on a regular basis, wasn’t exactly prevalent.  Chow mien was about it, which, incidentally I actually loathe.  Yes, Mom and Dad, I still hate chow mien.  A lot.  I wasn’t kidding all those years when you made me eat it for dinner.  Its one of the only foods in existence that I absolutely can’t stand and the memories of it make me shudder.

Chewy Ginger Cookies from Brittany's Pantry But back to ginger, the one exception in eating it was these cookies.  My Mother has been making them for years and I think that the original recipe even has frosting included.  But I am not really sure because my edition of The Joy of Cooking does not have the recipe in it.  I think my Mom got the cookbook as a wedding gift sooooo….30+ years later, the editors apparently thought it was expendable.  For SHAME!!  Obviously they never made them or they would give these cookies their own page.  Their own chapter!  *sigh*  You may think I am over exaggerating and if you know me personally…well…that isn’t so much of a stretch.  But seriously!  They are quite fantastic.  And I have never had anyone disagree with me.  They have a bite of ginger without being overwhelming, and they turn out thin, chewy and perfect EVERY TIME!  Without fail.  My favorite feature?  They freeze beautifully.  Why is this such a perk, you ask?  The recipe makes about four dozen so you have enough to fill a gallon freezer bag and save them for later.  And when you take them out and defrost them they are just as chewy and wonderful as the day you baked them.  I like to make a batch to tuck in the freezer for families with a new baby.  Its a little treat for when company comes over to visit the new addition and it is instant calories in the middle of the night when you have been up for 36 hours straight.  Sharing is something they taught us in Kindergarten so spread the love!  And maybe.  Just maybe.  Someday, I will be able to pay my cable bill with them.  Fingers crossed.Chewy Ginger Cookies from Brittany's Pantry Chewy Ginger Cookies (updated w/new pic 12/5/12)
These are perfect for the holiday season, but I make them all the time.  You should too.

Cream together:
3/4 c butter
2 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c molasses
2 tsp white vinegar
3 3/4 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Mix until combined.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.  If desired, roll each ball in granulated sugar. Bake at 325 degrees for exactly 11 minutes!  Cool on pan for a few minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.

Puppy Chow

Classic Puppy Chow from Brittany's PantryAh! That ever present addictive snack food that so many of us remember from our childhood.  Simple ingredients, easy steps, and I think that every parent I knew as a kid made this.  Well, except mine.  Chocolaty, crunchy goodness that leaves you with powdered sugar covered fingers.  I am, of course, speaking of Puppy Chow.  It actually came up on Wikipedia and apparently, it is a Midwest food.  Specifically the Dakotas, Iowa, MN and Nebraska.  Huh.  I have no idea if Kellogg’s (the company that makes Crispix) created the original recipe or if it was some creative Mom who knew that the combination of peanut butter and chocolate on cereal would be a golden combination.  Heck!  I don’t even know what the original recipe is!  But this is how I make it and I haven’t had any complaints.  Put this out at your next holiday party and watch it disappear!  Just be sure to lick the powdered sugar off your fingers when you snitch!Classic Puppy Chow from Brittany's Pantry Puppy Chow

1 stick of butter
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c creamy peanut butter (JIF makes this taste the best-seriously!)

Melt the above ingredients in your LARGEST microwaveable bowl.  Put it in for 30 seconds, take it out and stir.  Repeat this until chocolate chips are melted.  Dump in 1 whole (12 oz) box of Crispix cereal.  Stir very carefully until coated evenly.  Ever so gently, dump the whole thing into a clean paper grocery bag.  Add 2 c of powdered sugar, roll the top of the bag closed and gently turn and shake the bag to break up the clumps and coat the candy evenly.  Add more powdered sugar if necessary.

Honey Buns

Honey Buns are made in a muffin tin and perfect for Christmas morning! {Brittany's PantryHoney is the star ingredient here today and it takes these sticky rolls to a whole new level.  I have always loved honey and any food that highlights its fantastic flavor always has a place in my recipe box.  I have a recipe for honey cheesecake bars somewhere.  Creamy, delicate, and the honey gives is just the right amount of sweetness.  I will dig that out and share it sometime soon.

Anyway, when I was a kid, my Mother used to crack an aspirin half, put it on a spoonful of honey, and give it to me when I had a fever.  And let me tell ya!  When you have a mouthful of honey, you don’t even notice the bitterness as you chew up an aspirin.  Speaking of my parents, among their many talents is Beekeeping, so I always get a few quarts of the golden syrup when they visit from MN in the fall.  This is very fortunate for us because we use a lot of honey in our house; in tea, in our homemade bread, when we make granola, on yogurt, and my husband even likes to drizzle honey over his Cheerios in the morning.  Don’t ask my why, but its actually really good.  A quart of honey, like the one below that was produced in my parent’s backyard, does not last long.
These Honey Buns are the best way to enjoy the fantastic flavor of honey.  While I love a warm, carmel roll as much as the next person, these are a nice change of pace.  The are just the right size, not too heavy, and not as rich as a traditional sticky bun.  It took me three days and four batches, but I finally got it right.  My daughter wants me to be sure to tell you that they are really good.  She was adamant that I inform you of this.  But beware.  Eating these will make you want to start your own bee colony.  Just be sure to share a quart or two of honey with your friends!!Raw-HoneyHoney Buns are made in a muffin tin and perfect for Christmas morning! {Brittany's PantryHoney Buns are made in a muffin tin and perfect for Christmas morning! {Brittany's PantryHoney Buns
If you are in a time crunch, don’t have a bread machine, or just plain don’t feel like fussing with it, use a 1 lb loaf of frozen bread dough, thawed, in place of the dough in this recipe.  It won’t be as good, but it will be faster, easier, and you will get to eat sooner!

3 c bread flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 c butter, softened and cut into chunks (it mixes in easier that way)
3/4 c milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp yeast

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a 12 cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Add all dough ingredients to your bread machine according to manufacturers directions.  Mix on ‘dough cycle’ and proceed with the recipe.  Alternatively, mix all ingredients in your kitchen aid with a dough hook until a smooth ball forms.  Knead dough by hand until dough springs back and is elastic, about 10 minutes.  Let rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in size.  Proceed with recipe.

Honey Glaze:
1/2 c honey
2 T butter softened
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients and divide evenly among the 12 muffin cups, pouring about a tablespoon in each one.  Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and place on top of the honey in each cup.  Its OK if the dough is in several pieces in each cup.  Actually, it seems to be better that way, but it doesn’t really matter.  Make sure it is about even and let them rise in a warm place until puffed, about 30 minutes.  Bake for 12 -15 minutes or until the rolls are evenly golden brown.  Remove from the oven and immediately invert the pan onto a sheet of wax paper, parchment paper, or foil, letting the honey glaze drip down the rolls.  Serve immediately.