Finally back to blogging! Sadly, I didn't write my 'I'm going on vacation' post because we left a day early to avoid this. The 'largest one-day snow in 70 years.' Washington doesn't handle a couple of inches of snow very well; we weren't about to stick around and try to leave when there was TWO FEET of it.
Anyway, I made these for Christmas and brought them to my in-laws. These are now my husband's favorite cookies of all time (I still prefer these). Not to oversell them or anything. They have a sort of festive feel, a la gingerbread, but without the cardboard texture.
Slightly modified from a long-lost (by me-- this recipe was on a card given to me LAST Christmas; it turned up in my suitcase when I went to pack for THIS Christmas) recipe from a friend who, it turns out, got it from here. Also, it's nearly identical to the one on the side of the Grandma's Molasses jar.
3/4 c. butter, at room temperature
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. molasses
2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt (omit if using salted butter)
1/2 t ground cloves
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1/3 c. coarse granulated sugar for decoration (regular would work but the coarse decorating sugar from the baking aisle is better. I also found that turbinado sugar works really well.)
1. On high speed, cream the butter until fluffy.
Beat in the brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in in the egg and molasses until combined.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. Add the flour mixture to the shortening mixture and mix well. Cover and chill dough for at least 2 to 3 hours.
Note #1: this is where pre-reading the directions helps, in case you're assuming that you can whip up cookies in less than an hour, from mixing to baking to clean up. I found that 20-30 minutes in the freezer works well enough if you're in a hurry.
Note #2: Holy crap, ground cloves are expensive. This little bitty jar was somewhere in the neighborhood of $7:
Since I had to buy a few ingredients that weren't already in my pantry (ground cloves, molasses, and special sugar for coating the cookies) these probably count as the most expensive cookies I have ever made.
3. Preheat oven to 350. Grease cookie sheets or use parchment paper (my preference-- makes making multiple batches with the same cookie sheets really easy.)
4. Roll dough into 1-1/2" balls (about the size of large walnuts). Roll balls in sugar and place 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes. Cookies will be puffy when you pull them out; they will settle into that lovely crackly pattern. Let cool for one minute before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
And a final note, singing the praises of my new camera: These were all taken with ambient light, and not that much of it-- I think that there's one 60 watt bulb in the overhead fixture in my kitchen.