5351 NE Sandy Blvd – Portland
I have given high praise to two cookies in the past that were both purchased at Ristretto Roasters. Both the Chocolate Chocolate Nib and the Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk, were baked by Kim Boyce, author of the beautiful Good to the Grain baking book.
And now…. Boyce has her very own retail bakery! Bakeshop opened just this past week on NE Sandy Blvd. (Her goods will continue to be available at Ristretto – as well as Extracto Coffee House, Breken Kitchen, Case Study Coffee (adjacent to the bakery), and probably a few other joints that I don’t know about.
When I visited the shop a couple of days ago near closing time, the pickings were fairly slim (always a good sign). But, happily, there was still a nice looking stack of gingersnaps sitting in the case, waiting just for my ginger and molasses-lovin’ self to call my own.
So I bought one. Only one – it’s a hefty number.
My first thought was: hmmm… it’s not as dark as I’d like. I wish it had more molasses. But as I bit through the dense and resilient disc (which somehow manages to be simultaneously a chew and a snap – more on that below), I realized that this is a ginger cookie – not a molasses cookie. Yes, it does contain molasses (I’m pretty sure – or at least brown sugar, which itself contains molasses), but the key player here is absolutely the ginger. Because In addition to what I’m guessing is either ground or freshly grated (or both) ginger in the dough, there are also small chunks of candied ginger strewn throughout – providing pleasantly chewy interruptions. Kinda like the raisin’s role in an oatmeal cookie- but different. Because it’s ginger, not raisins. Duh.
Once I realized that I was eating a ginger cookie with a molasses-y background and not the other way around, I started to dig it a lot more. Also, as I started to say above, you get the satisfaction of a chewy, pliable cookie as you bit through the top, but the bottom is crisp, like a snap. I think some of this density comes from the whole wheat flour (I forgot to ask which whole grain is being used here and whether or not it is the same gingersnap recipe in the cookbook, which does use whole wheat). In any case, the result is that it is almost as if a chewy molasses jumped on top of snap and the divergent cookies have fused together as one. Like a ginger cookie two-fer. I like that.
But maybe I’m overthinking it.