Ginger cookies with pumpkin spice chips

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I have made many different variations of ginger cookies/ginger snaps in recent years. I used to have a standard recipe – the one with which I grew up – but I tried others that used fresh grated ginger, some that didn’t call for molasses (not always easy or possible to find in Europe) and some just to change things up.

This time, having no molasses and wanting to use some pumpkin spice chips someone had given me (I really wasn’t sure about these – they seemed a bit too ‘toxic’ and unnatural in flavor…), I adapted a bit. I had a lot of golden syrup on hand and decided to use that in place of molasses…

Ginger cookies
Preheat oven to 180C
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup golden syrup
1/3 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pumpkin spice chips

Mix all ingredients except the final two listed. Add the chips, if desired, at the end when dough is well-mixed. You can wrap and chill for a while if you prefer.

Roll dough into small, walnut-sized balls, roll in sugar and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 9-10 minutes.

Mini pecan pies

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It’s been a long time since I bothered to make miniature pies, but suddenly the urge was there. Mini pecan pies were born.

Here’s how you can go for it as well:

Crust:
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chilled butter
3 tablespoons ice water

Sift flour and salt. Cut the butter into the flour until crumbly. Stir in enough cold water with a fork until it is just moistened. Form a ball and roll out on a floured surface. (For a regular pie, you would roll into a 12-inch circle for a 9-inch pie. For mini pies, just cut circles about the size of the outer edge of your tins). Fit the rounds into your mini tins and set aside.

Filling:
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup corn syrup (I used golden syrup)
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350F. First pour pecans into the bottom of the pie crusts. Pour the syrup over the top. (Pecans will rise to the top.)

Cover the tops and crusts lightly with foil and bake for about 30 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes. The filling should not be overly runny/jiggly, so continue baking until it is relatively solid.

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Random Gum: Halloween and Year-End Music Mixes

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Baked goods: ANZAC biscuits

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It’s not ANZAC Day, it’s not Australia Day. I am not someone from Australia or New Zealand. But back when I lived in Iceland, my best friends were Australians, and we sometimes celebrated Australian events, and I adopted the habit of baking ANZAC biscuits pretty much all the time. They are quite simple and keep/mail well. Given that I was extending the experiment of mailing cookies to other offices on other continents, it seemed wise to include hardier, sturdier cookies in the mix. I have no idea whether the cookies I make in any way resemble actual ANZAC biscuits, but people eat and love them regardless. I am not terribly concerned with authenticity.

Of course, the concept of “baking authenticity” is sort of interesting. I remember promising to bake cookies for an old friend in Iceland. When I finally did, he took one look at the cookies, made a rather unpleasant face and said, “Those aren’t cookies, those are American.” What did he expect? That I would make the hard little dog biscuits Icelanders call cookies? I AM American after all.

For me, authenticity probably comes mostly from the intent of the baker. Even if they are baking from (heaven forbid) a mix, it is more about whether they enjoy what they are doing. While I eschew the evil baking mix, I encourage baking of all kinds.

ANZAC biscuits
Ingredients:
1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats (oatmeal), uncooked
1 cup coconut
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 Tablespoons golden syrup (or honey)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
2 Tablespoons boiling water

Preheat oven to 350F/180C
Combine flour, oats, coconut and sugar in a bowl.
Melt the butter and golden syrup or honey in a saucepan over low heat.
Mix the bicarb of soda with the boiling water and add to the butter and golden syrup mixture.
Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients and mix well.
Spoon tablespoons of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving space between to allow for spreading.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. (Mine usually take less than this, so keep an eye on them.)
Cool on a wire rack and seal in airtight containers.