I'm so excited to introduce Natasha. She's one of the first Cookie Advent Calendar participants who I met on Twitter through conversations not related to food!!! Haha. Ok, she's still a great baker, but we initially met while chatting in a home renovation Twitter chat.
As some of you who have been following kitchen frolic know, Paul and I bought a house over the summer and have slowly, but surely, been tackling all the lovely things that come with first-home-ownership, including making the house "ours".
Natasha and her husband are building their own dream house from the ground up and some of her blog posts have been completely inspiring for me.
I'm so happy that Natasha agreed to share a recipe (her first time as a guest blogger!), plus her adorable photos of her and her son baking together is pretty much what holiday baking is all about!
Besides her lovely blog, you can also follow Natasha on Twitter!
guest post by Natasha from The Dreamhouse Project
Hi, I'm Natasha. If you're familiar with my blog you know that you're a lot more likely to find me talking construction than confectionaries, but when the opportunity arose to collaborate with Stephanie on this year's Cookie Advent Calendar, I just had to jump at it. As a Mom of a little guy with a peanut allergy, this time of year can be a bit tricky. Between school parties & family gatherings, there are often so many sweets, cakes & treats being passed around and it always breaks my heart a little as he points to something particularly yummy & asks "Mommy....does dat have nuts in it??" When we're out of the house, it can be hard to be sure whether or not those goodies are truly nut-free - so a lot of the time, our poor little guy has to do without.
I love to bake, and our little man loves helping out in the kitchen. Those of us without allergies though, sometimes forget that nut-free baking doesn't have to mean the end result is anything but delicious. When I came across this recipe for Chocolate-Ginger Crinkle Cookies, I knew it was one I had to try. Not only is it nut-free, but it's a bit of a twist on 2 of my favourite holiday cookies! It combines the crispy spice of a ginger molasses cookie, with the chewy chocolately goodness of the classic chocolate crinkle ...I mean - what more could anyone ask for??
This is a pretty simple recipe for even the most inexperienced baker though it is good to note that while the dough only takes a few minutes to make, it needs to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, so make sure you give yourself enough time. It is however a great recipe to try out if you have a mini kitchen helper adept at rolling Play-Doh balls like I did. :) Enjoy!
chocolate-ginger crinkle cookies
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
7 ½ oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
Icing sugar for rolling
1 Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, ginger, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
2 Combine the butter and 3 ounces of the chocolate in a medium, heat-proof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with a couple inches of simmering water (be sure not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water) and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter have melted and the mixture is smooth. As an alternative, you can melt the mixture in the microwave, but you'll need to heat it at about 20-second intervals to ensure the chocolate doesn't scorch and then stir periodically until melted and smooth.
3 Remove the bowl from the saucepan and set aside to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Repeat the melting process for the other 4 ½ ounces of the chocolate & set aside.
4 Stir the granulated and brown sugars into the melted butter & chocolate mixture, using a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. Drop in the eggs, one at a time, mixing briskly until smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract and gradually incorporate the flour mixture. Fold in the remaining 4 ½ ounces of melted chocolate and the crystallized ginger. HINT: If you're like me and don't have or know where to find crystallized ginger, you can substitute crystals of instant honeyed ginger drink.
5 Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator to chill overnight - or for at least 2 hours.
6 Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper.
7 Shape the chilled dough into walnut-size balls, roll in icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar for all our Ameri-friends) and arrange them about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. (If your kitchen is a bit on the warm side and the dough becomes too soft, return it to the refrigerator until chilled and fairly firm.)
8 Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies have spread and the tops are cracked.
9 Cool the cookies on the baking sheets set on wire racks for about 2 minutes before removing them to the racks to cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container or in a zip-top bag for up to 4 days.
10 Eat & enjoy!
Makes approx. 40 cookies.
Total preparation & baking time: approx. 2.5 hours.
The recipe and all photos used in this blog post belong to Natasha / The Dreamhouse Project and should not be reprinted without her express permission.