Sunday, December 21, 2008

More Sweets

This was a pretty good weekend. We got our tree and lights up (we have sort of a Charlie Brown tree, but it's tall and we bought it from the Boy Scouts, so it was worth it to help them). And, we had a whirlwind time at Toys R Us buying toys for Toys for Tots. It's so fun to pick out toys...apologies if the ones we picked are too noisy, but there are so many nice ones out there. Since it's such a bleak year, we thought it was important to make sure a few more kids have presents this year.

I also got the rest of the curtains hung, though it looks like Smith and Noble has let us down again and we are missing a panel. But, the guest room has lovely black and white damask curtains, and we have a really nice cream linen one in the living room.

But, that's not the point of this post. I wanted to share a new and delicious recipe that I discovered this weekend. I have always loved gingerbread cookies around the holidays. They are the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. Plus, I think they have enough flavor and kick to stand up to a cup of tea or coffee. But, I didn't feel like making roll-out cookies because I think the roll-out gingerbread men get a little tough from all the re-rolling and flour. I was browsing through the big, yellow Gourmet cookbook and stumbled upon this recipe. Please, make time out of your holiday schedule to try these. They are easy to make and so delicious. I made one modification (I never keep shortening in the house) so feel free to use shortening instead of butter.

Molasses Spice Cookies (Gourmet Cookbook)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon (I was generous with this)
1 tsp ground ginger (I was generous with this too)
1/2 tsp ground cloves (I substituted allspice and a little nutmeg)
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter (or shortening if you want to follow the recipe)
1 cup packed light brown sugar (I only had dark brown, and liked it)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup molasses
Granulated sugar (like Sugar in the Raw) for dipping the cookies

1. Sift together flour, soda, spices and salt. Set aside. In bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. (The recipe says 1 minute, but I think it took about 5). Stir in molasses and lightly beaten egg to sugar and butter until just combined. Add flour in 2-3 batches, mixing well. Now, pop the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

2. Grease two large cookie sheets and preheat oven to 375 with rack in middle of oven. The recipe says to roll level TABLESPOONS into balls and dip in sugar. I rolled mounded teaspoons into balls because I like smaller cookies. Make sure to place the cookies (sugar side up) about 3 inches apart on the baking sheet, because they do spread during cooking.

3. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the tops are cracked. I let cool on the cookie sheet for about 2-3 minutes before cooling further on racks. They stay nice and soft, and I think they will keep in a Ziploc baggie for a week or so.

I'm enjoying them with a cup of tea in front of my beautiful tree and twinkling lights. I hope you can enjoy them too!

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