Dear Nick Malgieri,
I saw your Ginger Sandwich Cookies filled with lemon cream in a recent issue of Food & Wine magazine and decided I’d give them a try. Although gingersnaps have never been and will never be a cookie I find myself craving, the lemon filling did catch my attention and I thought that with the ginger, the flavor could be exceptional.
Although that did not disappoint, the molasses, on the other hand, gave me pause because the last time I made cookies that had molasses in them, the results were less than appealing until I bent them into submission after much trial and error.
Now I know I’m far from perfect on most days, but I have had a modest amount of experience cooking and baking with great success — thankfully more times than not. I also use excellent equipment and so cannot blame poor result on either of those factors.
What I’m left with is a question, and I’m asking it of you since this is your recipe and the photograph chosen to illustrate the intended results looks far different than mine — especially my first batch.
- When baking cookies with molasses, is there something I just don’t understand? What causes them to spread so? I know sugar in general causes that, and when using molasses, a smaller quantity is needed, as in this recipe which calls for only 1/4 cup. Could it be the brand of molasses? I use Grandma’s which is just about the only kind I’ve ever used, and the jar I used for this batch was opened recently.
- Although keeping a very close eye on the Ginger Sandwich cookies during the required bake time, I realized I needed to remove them from the oven only half way through the expected 20-minute baking time, and even then, the cookies were far too done. Actually, burnt.
- I prefer to use convection settings for everything except for recipes with a high quantity of egg, so am used to reducing the heat and cooking time to compensate for that choice. However, because of the previous results, I chose not to use convection heat for this recipe. On the second batch, again, with only 7 minutes of the baking time elapsed, I had to remove the cookies.
Mr. Malgieri, I know that often, baking is an adventure, and I accept that most of the time. Because I’m used to reading recipes, I can usually spot one that I think could be problematic, and with this recipe, the cooking time did get my attention. Cookies rarely bake that long. Nevertheless, I proceeded like the trusting home cook I am.
I will say your ginger cookies are lovely tasting with a nice bite — chewy, with a pleasant tartness from the lemon cream which blends well with the overall sweetness. Very, very nice. I just wish I’d done them justice. So I’m curious and would enjoy trying these again, but detest wasting food so need some direction.
Did Food & Wine misprint the recipe? Or am I just someone who should step away from the molasses?
With the utmost respect,
p.s. They stack very well, though!