Looks like I wasn't the only one who thought it was a great idea. Sayantani restarted the Arusuvai chain in November. Four months later, the chain has reached Bombay Foodie. My link to the chain is Shalini. With her secret ingredient came a lovely hand written note and a cook book. Curious to know what Shalini sent?
It was dried ginger root. I was excited because I almost never cook with ginger and although I bookmark these recipes all the time, I've not managed to bake with ginger even once. The first thing that came to my mind was gingersnaps. Sugar encrusted, spicy sweet cookies - gingersnaps it is!
The recipe originally came from joy of baking. But I've managed to change it beyond recognition. First, I didn't have any molasses. I went through the options (maple syrup, corn syrup, honey) but then made my own molasses by stirring 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar into an equal quantity of warm water. And I did away with eggs, entirely! This is also 1/4th of the original recipe, in case the measurements all sound a little weird.
So what you do is let 40 grams of salted butter soften at room temperature. Add 1/4 cup or 55 grams of sugar - the recipe calls for half white, half dark but I used all white caster sugar. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add 2 tbsp of molasses and beat well to mix it in. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup flour, 1/8th tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and a pinch of ground cloves. Add to the butter mixture, mix well and chill for half an hour.
In the meantime, heat your oven to 180C and line a baking sheet with parchment. Take a one inch ball of dough, dip it in caster sugar and place on the baking sheet. Flatten slightly. Place next cookie at some distance as they expand quite a lot. I think I might have made bigger cookies too as I got eight out of this dough rather than an even dozen.
I baked these for around 18 minutes, but the recipe calls for 12-15 minutes so just go by how they look. You want the top of the cookies to be firm when you take them out, and you should bake them a little longer if you like these to be crisp like I do.
Thanks Shalini for a great treat! My secret ingredients will soon make their way to Santosh and Nithya. And so the friendship chain continues!