Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ginger vs. Honey: The Tale of the Gingerdoodle

Whenever I go shopping, I tend to shop in themes. By this, I mean if the first item I select happens to be some shade of blue and lacy, there is a high probability that another item in the batch will match that. By the time I wrap up the trip, I’ll have about three blue lace tops that all look rather similar from a distance but are very uniquely different in my eyes… The theme of the day is blue lace.

Similarly, I once thought of baking in themes. I thought of segments in which every day/week/month I would make something that fell within certain guidelines… Maize and Blue Saturdays was a theme throughout last year’s football season. Happy Hour Fridays with alcoholic ingredients once crossed my mind. Baking with “super foods” was another thought.

Clearly, I haven’t been baking in themes much, although occasionally I may bake one or two treats that have similar or complementing elements within the same short period of time. Like my shopping spurts, these occasions aren’t so much carefully planned in advance as they are about my taste or preference of the moment. For example, in the fall, I often like to utilize pumpkin and cinnamon… Who doesn’t?

Over the last few weeks, I found myself making a number of related sweets that fell very much into a theme. So much so, that I began to wonder how I was going to package them all. How I was going to introduce each to you in a way that moved seamlessly.

Then I stopped thinking and started writing. I find it’s much easier and far more therapeutic to pour out my thoughts however cluttered and unpolished they may be and worry about packaging and cleaning it all up later.

Ernest Hemingway captured this concept better than anyone when he said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Operation Candied Ginger

Ginger in and of itself is a strong, malleable and useful ingredient. As a spice, it stands out in cookies or cupcakes. As a healing aid, it settles the unsettled stomach. As a palate cleanser, it complements and clears the taste of sushi. Despite its range of offerings, until recently I would have told you I didn’t care for ginger. I’d add it in powdered form to recipes to complement nutmeg, cloves and other fall spices, but I would never want it to be the main ingredient.

So how did ginger become the central theme to so many treats that have come out of my kitchen lately?

I saw an opportunity to challenge everything I’d once thought about ginger (that it’s sort of gross) and I jumped on it… We’ll call this Operation Candied Ginger.