I received the following e-mail a few days ago:
Dave and I were looking for a recipe for a soft ginger molasses cookie. Do you have any recipe recommendations? I know you just posted a chocolate ginger cookie recipe on your blog but we were looking for something with more spice, less chocolate.
It was an e-mail that found me not only digging out an old recipe, it found me tying on my apron and digging out a few of my favorite spices again. Some recipes (like this one) need to be baked at least once a season. It's an old Transplanted Baker post from late September, 2008. If you're feeling a bit adventurous, do try my recipe for Chocolate-Ginger Cookies. That is, after you've tried this one.
The original post:
I used to work at a well-known Minneapolis cheese shop and deli before packing up the trunks and shipping across the Atlantic.
It was a good job for a person to have after finishing up a liberal arts degree and looking for some direction, any direction. Through never -ending sampling, serving food-minded people, and most importantly, befriending and picking the brain of a talented and generous chef, I learned a lot about food. I guess you could say it was the kind of experience that leaves a girl awake at night, contemplating breads to bake, recipes to try, and ingredients to scout out. I should also mention that it was this very same job that got me into the habit (good or bad, you decide) of eating ginger-molasses cookies for my mid-morning snack alongside a much-needed cup of coffee.
My earliest blog posts revolved around quintessential American foods that are not available in these parts. These were things that I missed, like; strawberry-nectarine pie, egg bagels, and quick bread. Today’s post is along those same lines, but rather than baking something as American as (no, not apple pie, I was going to say “chocolate chip cookies”...which everyone and their third cousin, once removed has a favorite recipe for, so there’s no need to plague you with mine), I’m going with something a little bit sweet, a little bit savory, oh so autumny, and really a lot like the Scandinavian classic, peparkaker. “Peparwhater? !”, you exclaim in confusion! (Pep-are-kaak-aire), those crisp, spiced cookies that the Swedish company, Anna’s, has made famous. They’re traditionally a Christmas cookie, which makes perfect sense, considering their warming blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cardamom, but I dare you to bake some in September, the month where only children under the age of 10 (and my husband) start dreaming of Christmas.
I’d like to present to you a challenge: The Great Spiced Cookie Challenge! It’s not so much a challenge as a ploy to get you into the kitchen and digging out those spices you haven’t used for nine of ten months. But the real point of all of this, is to let you help me declare a superior cookie. Is it the tender, chewy, American ginger-molasses? Or, is the crisp, zippy, Scandinavian Peparkaker more worthy of the title? So that the pressure to bake isn’t too strong, I’ve decided to divide the challenge over the course of a week or two. This week, you can fill your cookie jars and breakroom tables with the American classic, and once those disappear, you can start sneaking into a jar full of Peparkaker.
If you were reading my whole-wheat molasses recipe a few weeks ago and debating whether to make a special trip to the store for a bottle of that hearty, dark slow-as-molasses, molasses, your decision has made itself. A couple tablespoons of molasses can make all the difference in a loaf of bread or batch of cookies. I think it gives it that je ne sais pas quality, don’t you? So, no need to keep in you any more suspense, I reveal to you the greatest ginger-molasses cookie recipe ever. Stay tuned for next week’s peparkaker recipe!
American Ginger-Molasses cookies
Amerikansk Ingefærsmåkaker med melassesirup
(makes about 2-dozen small, or 1-dozen super-sized cookies)
2 1/4 cups (350g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup(1 1/2 sticks/165g) butter, softened
1 cup (200g) white sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup (60ml) molasses
+2 tablespoons white sugar for rolling
1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture.
3. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (no longer if you want them to stay soft!) in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Eat a couple while still warm. Set aside at least two or three for breakfast with a cup of hot coffee.