Monday, May 9, 2011

Spicy Ginger Cookies

Dedicated to Blythe Walker
wonderful friend - outstanding soprano

1 1/2 C unsweetened butter, softened

2 C sugar

1 tsp baking soda

2 T Lbs ground cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cloves

4 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp red pepper

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

½ C dark molasses

4 C unbleached white flour

Optional: a half cup of coarse (colored) sugar for coating the cookies.

In an electric mixer, mix butter and sugar until blended. Add baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, red pepper, and salt. Mix until blended. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until smooth. Add and mix the molasses into the eggs. Add egg and molasses to the mixer. Beat until smooth. Slowly beat in the flour. When cookie dough is smooth and consistently blended, cover with wax paper or plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for several hours. Dough must be hard and firm in order to roll into balls.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If coating with sugar, place the coarse sugar in a bowl. Shape dough into 1” balls. Roll dough balls in sugar. Place each ball at least 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in preheated oven about 8 - 10 minutes or until tops are crackled and cookies are slightly browned. Using a metal spatula place cookies on cooling rack. Yields approximately 100 cookies.

FOODNOTES: I first made this batch of spicy gingersnaps for my friend's nephew and family as a housewarming gift commissioned by Blythe. They recently moved into my neighborhood. Based on the Swedish recipe for Pepparkorker which literally means Pepper Cookie, I thought why not add a scant amount of red pepper to the recipe. I also believe that ginger should stand out since they are Ginger Cookies. This recipe calls for molasses and sugar, which is less expensive than brown sugar.

I recently read a humorous book wherein one of the characters states that she has made diet cookies that do not have butter, sugar, eggs, or flour. I would not like to taste one of those. I've had sugarless cookies and was not impressed. I've had flourless cookies made with some kind of substitute – that made me think I was munching shredded paper, and I've had cookies without eggs. Lace cookies call for only butter, sugar and flour. If cookies are made without butter, certainly they must have cooking oil in them. I don't believe in substituting the basic good ingredients that make cookies cookies.

Welcome to the neighborhood – Jeff, Alicia, Lauren, Max, Will, Franny, Alec, and Harry! Your Aunt Blythe sure does love you.

©Wilma Carolyn Johnson Short

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