ABOVE: My first attempt at the simple ginger cookies, left, from the SoNo Baking Company Cookbook yielded a picture-perfect stack.
SONO BAKING COMPANY & CAFE: 101 SOUTH WATER STREET, NORWALK
SoNo Baking Company’s almond croissants have made me an addict, but they are a little advanced for my baking skills. When I saw that the bakery is poised to release their cookbook on March 9 and that they provide a sample recipe for ginger cookies – something much simpler – on a promo card for the book, I decided to give it a shot.
I was pleased with the results (see photo above left), mostly because I weighed the dough balls to the gram, ensuring identically round cookies – I don’t necessarily recommend this degree of obsessiveness. The cookies were not as spicy as I’d like so next time I will use more ginger and cloves.
Most everything else at SoNo, however, is a little more complicated, from the artisan breads to the delicate French pastries. Master baker John Barricelli, who hosts Everyday Baking on PBS, opened the bakery a few years ago after emerging from the Martha Stewart Living empire and quickly became one of the area’s premiere purveyor of baked goods. Pretty much everything at SoNo is awesome, though I’m not sold on the sourdough (but that’s just my fierce West Coast bias).
Maybe I’ll have to take one of the breakfast pastry classes to get a handle on those almond croissants…
WHAT YOU NEED:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 large egg, at room temp.
1/4 unsulfured molasses
WHAT YOU DO:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger; set aside.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, two to three minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through. Beat in the egg and molasses until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, beating until combined. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about one hour (and up to 24 hours).
3. Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick silicone baking mats; set aside. Place the extra sugar for rolling on a plate; set aside.
4. Use a 1 1/2-inch ice-cream scoop to scoop out the dough and roll into balls between your hands. Roll the balls in the sugar to coat and place about two inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
5. Bake one sheet at a time, rotating the sheet two-thirds of the way through the baking time, until the cookies are deep and golden brown and the centers are firm, 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and cool for ten minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the rack, and let cool completely. Continue to roll and back the remaining cookies in the same way.