TWD: Sugar-topped Molasses Spice Cookies

These were a treat right around Thanksgiving, and given that I have a whole new bottle of molasses in the pantry now, I’m thinking they might be a treat again someday soon!

Spiced Ginger Molasses Cookies

These cookies were chewy and dense and certainly spiced well – you must like ginger snaps to like these cookies, because they offer FAR MORE than your grocery store variety spice cookies.  Also, they were a bit of a handful to get into the baking pan, so definitely chill the dough as Dorie recommends before trying to rol them out (I still ended up with a thin layer of dough on each hand after I rolled a dozen or so out). The woman knows her stuff!

I, of course, was drinking them with milk or weak tea, because that’s how I roll these days. But they would also be lovely with the last of the wine after dinner. They certainly are not overly sweet to where they might compete with the wine.  I served them after brunch (french toast, quiche, sausage and cocktails) with friends for the perfect ending to a delightful Sunday morning.

TWD: buttery jam cookies

These cookies are good!  They are nearly cake-like, and thus not very popular with the other TWD bakers who like a few snaps in their cookies. But both the Other Eater and I are HUGE fans. These are buttery and sweet – but not too sweet – and delicate tasting but still dense and sturdy in your hand.  I’ve been popping the little devils like popcorn with whatever beverage I have in my hand – red wine, morning coffee, I’m not picky. I would never have tried these in my own (Thanks Randomosity!), but I am so glad to have found them!

a nice evening

The recipe is sort of a standard cookie base, with the expected butter, sugar and egg, but then you throw in a scoop of jam (I used apricot) and some ginger. Wow! I used Smuckers  Simply Fruit jam, and I’m not sure if that’s why they’re not as sweet as I expected them to be, but I really like these biscuits.  The ginger is subtle, but brings out the jam just enough so that you say “what’s different about these?” rather than “please pass me that pitcher of water.”

The dough rose just a little in the oven, but didn’t smooth out at all when baking, so the first tray I did came out just as spiky and uneven as they were were I dropped them from the spoon on to the cookie sheet.  For the second tray I chilled the dough (mostly because I was getting ready for an unexpected visit from a realtor – have I mentioned my house is still available for purchase?)and them rolled little balls of cold dough between my palms like meatballs to make them cuter.  They got dusted with a seasoned sugar before baking, and now they look like something you might purchase  by the pound from a plump lady in a hairnet, apron and white orthopedic shoes.

I’m already thinking about flavor substitutions.  I have some sour cherry jam in the fridge that might be nice with allspice or cloves rather than ginger, but several of the comments posted by my TWD colleagues suggest that the color was weird when they used raspberry jam.  I think I can live with that – it’s at least worth a shot. I think the apricot ginger cookies would be nice with champagne for New Years, and maybe the cherry cookies with a bourbon-based cocktail. (Sandra Lee must be rubbing off on me.)

**Also, many thank to my secret elf (via elfster) for the lovely holiday card and gift, which you see beside my plate of cookies.  The towel looks darling hanging on the oven!

Ginger chocolate chip bars: buy good spices!

I really like trying recipes I find in magazines, and I highly recommend  you seek out the cookie recipe I clipped from Real Simple magazine last weekend. You’ll find the recipe here.

Ginger chocolate chip bars

The cookies are flavorful like a gingersnap, cake-y like a good Toll House bar, and also a little bit chocolate-y. I used half semi-sweet chips and half white chips because that’s what I had in the house, but I think I would do that again – the white chocolate goes nice with the spice.

This is once instance where it totally pays to buy good spices – and you’ll know when you have good spices because the old stuff in your pantry will smell like the plastic bottle it’s packed in.  I buy all of mine from The Spice House, an Evanston store (well, there are several, actually) that reminds me of the land that time forgot.  The whole place is kinda musty, with spices and potions and herbs in big apothecary jars.  You have to ask someone to get you a small bottle from the bulk supply, but the people are all so nice and knowledgeable that it’s kinda nice to have their undivided attention while they fulfill your requests.  They also have some amazing blends for different meats vegetables, but I digress….

Quite a Spread

It’s supposed to rain again today which is not helping my week-long quest (to be fair, it’s not just the weather; there was one day I spent looking for a new work bag because the shoulder strap on my old one was ready to blow) to get over to a small market near my office for more toast toppings. They are absolutely the only way to east whole grain toast and English muffins, which have become a staple of my experience on one of America’s leading weight loss programs.
Anywho, apple butter. I love it. And the ratio of fiber to calories to fat in a reasonable serving is so low you an practically trowel it on your toast. If you’re feeling fancy, take a suggestion from Food Network and toast it with brie and prosciutto (or turkey).
My preference is to buy apple butter from a local farmer’s market during the summer, but when they’re not open yet, my favorite is American Spoon because it is flavorful, it doesn’t mold quickly and it has a nice texture. It’s not easy to find, but it’s totally worth the hunt.
So, when I found it in a local liquor store , I eagerly grabbed a jar for the ginger pear butter and was thrilled with the result. I prefer it on English muffin, but toast is ok, too. It has the same guiltless qualities as the apple butter, so I’m a happy camper.
I just hope the rain will hold off until after lunch so I can be a dry camper, as well.

UPDATE: The rain held off and I got to the market before the downpour, but they were out of apple butter (GASP!). A weekend trip to the liquor store remedied my problem, AND netted me a hunk of Spanish sheep’s milk cheese to enjoy with chianti jelly.