Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Some cookies aren't for kids.  Not that they won't eat them, but they would prefer something less complex, a more straightforward sugar rush.  These gingersnaps would go as well with a lowball of scotch as a glass of milk.  I first made them to use for the base of a cheesecake that I topped with some pineapple, banana, and coconut jam that I recently made. Since the recipe makes two logs, each of which yields 20--24 cookies, I put aside one log in the freezer to bake at a later date.  That date came due last night.

This is a very easy recipe that comes from David Lebovitz, or at least I discovered it on his site.  The actual recipe is apparently from Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food.  I made some slight changes to the recipe, adding cloves and nutmeg, options that the original suggests.  For the cheesecake base, I didn't top the cookies with the coarse sugar, but I do like the crunch it adds to the cookies.  I try to avoid having too many sweets in the house, so I am unlikely to make these very often.  I know if they were in the house, I would be unable to resist them. Anyways, I'm out of scotch.


2 cups (280 g) flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 whole cloves, finely ground
1/2 freshly grated nutmeg
11 tablespoons (150 g) butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature
2/3 cup (130 g) sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup (80 g) mild-flavored molasses* (sometimes called ‘light’ molasses)
1 large egg, at room temperature

Coarse sugar crystals (I used Trader Joe's Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar) for topping the cookies

In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.  With a mixer, cream the butter until fluffy before gradually mixing in the sugar. Add the vanilla, molasses, and egg, and mix until thoroughly incorporated.  With the mixer running, gradually stir in the flour mixture until you have a smooth, uniform dough.

Divide the dough in half.  Roll each half on a lightly floured surface to form two logs, each about 2 inches in diameter.  Wrap each log in plastic wrap and freeze or refrigerate until firm.  (At this point, you may keep the logs in the freezer for up to three months before baking, and you now have something that is every bit as easy to use as those refrigerated cookie tubes you see in the supermarket.)

When you are ready to bake some cookies, preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; one baking sheet should suffice for one log.  If you are expecting company, have a large family, or should be checking yourself into a clinic to deal with your overeating issues, line two baking sheets and get it done with.

Slice the logs into 1/4-inch thick coins of dough.  If topping with the coarse sugar, pour about a quarter cup of the sugar into a small bowl.  Firmly press one side of a sliced round of dough into the sugar.  Place the sugared rounds on the parchment-lined baking sheet(s), sugared-side up.  

Bake for 10 to 14 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheet for two minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Enjoy.

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