Thursday, September 24, 2009

Guilt-Me Cookies

Here's a little mental health check-up for you. What emotion would you say is in the driver's seat of your life right now? Is it happiness? Fear? Anger? Pity? Lust? Grief? Excitement?

Unfortunately, I think the one driving my life-mini-van right now is guilt. I feel guilty about not being more thorough in my children's schooling. I feel guilty that the house is so messy. Guilt washes over me when I think about the cards I meant to send, the phone calls I intended to make, and the unanswered e-mails languishing in my in box. Totting up the unfinished craft projects, scrapbooks, and piles of fabric waiting to be turned (someday) into quilts makes my guilt go into overdrive. And let's not even mention the blog. Two posts a week? Guilt, guilt, guilt.

Is it because I'm out partying all night and trying on shoes all day that so much is left undone? Hardly. You would have to look long and hard to find a less well-shod non-party-goer. No, the sad truth of the matter is that it all comes down to organization and the basic constraint of only 24 hours per day. So much to do, so little time.

Occasionally I'll meet someone who says, "Oh, my, you bake, you blog, you homeschool your children, and you have a business, too? How do you do it all?" The answer is, "Pretty poorly."

Well, what's a girl to do when swamped with guilt like this? Eat a carrot stick and feel more in control of life? Heck no! I say, make cookies! That's lots more fun than dusting the furniture or doing laundry, anyway. Plus then the whole family is happy and doesn't notice the insulating layer of dust or mind that they have to turn their underwear inside out to get another wearing from it.

These are amazing cookies. If you are feeling any negative emotion, a bite of this moist, flavorful, heavenly cookie (molasses with a hit of dark chocolate) will make you feel lots better. And if you're already happy, it'll just super-charge your day. So stop procrastinating -get your butter out to warm up to room temperature. You'll be able to fit this into your day. And if something else falls to the wayside (like ironing or taking out the trash), no one will notice or care.

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
- adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies

1-1/2 cups plus 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1-1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 Tbsp freshly grated peeled ginger
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp boiling water
7 oz. best-quality semi-sweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch chunks
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1- In a bowl, sift together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and fresh ginger on medium speed until lightened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.

2- In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Beat half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Beat in the baking soda mixture, then the remaining half of the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat the dough out to a 1-inch thickness and wrap with the plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or overnight.

3- Preheat the oven to 325 deg. F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

4- Roll dough into 1-1/2 inch balls; place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Chill 20 minutes. (Don't skip this chilling step! The dough gets very sticky as it warms.) Roll the balls in granulated sugar and place back on the baking sheets.

5- Bake until surfaces just begin to crack, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through the cooking time. Let cool on the sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

These cookies are best the day they are made, but can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.


One more reason to feel guilty: Today is the post day for the Bread Baking Babes. As you might have noticed, I'm not posting the wonderful Chinese Steamed Flower Buns that was our assignment for the month. Guilt!!! I'm a bad Babe, but you can check out the other amazing Babes to see what they did with this fun recipe. Links to their sites are on the side bar.


Valerie said...

I brought these cookies to a New Year's Eve party last year and they were a huge hit. They are a little labor intensive and time consuming with all the chilling, but the end result is well worth it!

VeggieGirl said...

Don't feel guilty, dear Lynn!! Hang in there xo

Christina @ Boyish Charm said...

I can sympathize with you. I get told by people all the time the same exact thing... Wow, you must be supermom to have 6 boys and still do all you do. I just laugh at them and tell them they are nuts! ;) I agree... I am lacking in SO many areas. If only we had more hours in the day that didn't require more sleep.
These cookies sound delicious. Gonna have to try them out!

Dolce said...

That's definitely sinful but looks great.
Take care of yourself :)

Justin said...

whoa, did you take that photo of the mouth about to bite the cookie!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Valerie - chilling's not labor intensive. You chill while the dough chills!

VeggieGirl - Thanks, dear. You are always an encourager.

Christina - 6 boys? I bow before you. Have cookies and take a nap.

Dolce - Thanks!

Justin - I took the photo, although my daughter had the idea, styled the whole shoot, and did the processing of the pic. She's amazing.

Mama JJ said...

So...those are YOUR lips, or your daughters or ??? In any case, ooo-la-la!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Who's lips are they??!!
Gorgeous photos Lynn, stunning. I ignore my children and dote on my dogs.. does that make me guilty enough for a cookie? ;-)

Barbara said...

Forget the guilt and eat the cookies! We can never be all things to all people... even though we try.
Love combining a gingersnap with chocolate.

We Are Not Martha said...

Ahhh I feel the same way! And I don't even have kids or real huge responsibilities yet. I can't imagine when I do!! I think I need some of these cookies too... THey look delicious :)


Anh said...

The cookies look amazingly delicious! And the photos, I love them.

Katrina said...

Well said, all of it! I just came to love ginger and chocolate within the last year and these sound de-lish!

Elle said...

Well, have a good time with it, but, really, you made time to make cookies, so you are absolved, totally, of any guilt producing stuff. Sweetie will just LOVE these!

Baking Soda said...

Why why do I have the feeling that if we had more hours in a day we would simply pile on more tasks on the "I should be really doing"list? Adding guilt in capitals on the bottom of said list?
Bake cookies, I'm coming over and we can share!

Saraswathi Iyer said...

Very nice recipe. first time here you have a nice blog. do check out myspace..

Debbie said...

I know what you mean...not enough hours to do all the things we plan on. I'm terrible at returning phone calls...just can't stand the phone. Eating those cookies might make it easier to complete all my tasks!

Grace said...

i just LOVE how flat these are! i have a small obsession with flat cookies--i suspect it's because i can fit more of them into my mouth at one time. :)

Melinda said...

You feel guilty? You shouldn't. You do more than most people. And you blog plenty enough for me.
Those cookies look really good. And it is a wonderful picture of the very luscious lips about to take a bite! (Is that your gorgeous mouth, Sarah?)

Sarah said...

Why yes Melinda, it is *blush*. My mom didn't know how to shoot these cookies, so I came up with this idea. It took us a while to get the shot right. Most of them I looked like a vampire cause I have pretty pointy canines :-)

Angie said...

Ok so I have this dough just sbout made in a bowl on my counter right now. I licked the beaters-its heavenly. However I'm now at the "add chocolate" step and I see no chocolate in the ingredients! Judging by your pictures, I'm gonna chop up a handful of semisweet chips and throw it in. I doubt that's gonna mess these up. :) But I would like to know what the recipe really calls for, for next time.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Angie - Oh, rats! I forgot the chocolate. I fixed that in the recipe. Hope your cookies turn out well anyway. (One more thing to feel guilty about...)

Peabody said...

Oh yeah, I so see why the red lips picture got's awesome!
The cookies look awesome as well.

eatme_delicious said...

Don't feel guilty! No one person can do everything perfectly nor are they expected to. The cookies look yummy!

Sara's Corner said...

hey gal thank u for the comments but you have to follow me on blogger dear. plss

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

The cookies look delicious!! I'm sure they must have helped a lot!
I love the picture with the red lips and the perfect teeth. Is that you in the pic? Or did you click it? It looks super professional!