12/28/2008

Molasses Spice Cookies



Molasses Spice Cookies

The beauty of these cookies is that they are simultaneously crunchy and soft, which, to me, equals the perfect texture for just about any cookie. Plus, they are loaded with seasonal spices, making them the ideal way to say, “I love you” during the holidays and the cold winter months that are to persist until the dawning of spring. Which made naming this cookie a bit of a conundrum for me…I bounced several ideas off my assistant and first employee ever, Hannah, and she offered to let me use a name for her favorite cookie, “The Nostalgia Cookie,” but it was so good, I had to turn her down. “I simply can’t take it,” I told her. “Well, you are from Texas, Karen, why not just use that whole “I’m southern and therefore use molasses thing? That is the way you do things down here isn’t it, flinging your ingredients around like a lasso?” We both laughed a hearty gut ripple and I grinned from ear to ear in full agreement. Hannah hails from upstate New York, so we always laugh at the regional differences that exist between us. Differences aside, these cookies are so fantastic, one of my client’s husbands came by with her to pick up an order, just to “meet the lady that made ‘those crack cookies.’” Personally, I’ve never been more flattered in all my days of baking…



Ingredients:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
¼ cup backstrap molasses
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs

2/3 cup + ½ cup tapioca flour
½ cup sorghum flour
½ cup cornstarch
¼ cup gluteneous rice flour
2 ½ teaspoons guar gum
¾ teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cardamom

Instructions:
Preheat your oven to a mild 325°F and line two half-sheet pans with either parchment paper or silpats. I got the best results using silpats. If using parchment, just make sure that the cookie sheets stay on the middle tier of the oven.

In a heavy bottomed 4-quart pan melt the diced butter over low heat. Remove from the heat just as the last vestiges of the butter-fat solids are visible.



Add the freshly grated ginger to infuse the butter. Allow to sit for 10 minutes and then whisk in the 1 cup of granulated sugar and the molasses until smooth. Now whisk in the two eggs and work the mixture until smooth as fine wet concrete.



In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients and whisk several times to evenly distribute the spices. Gradually sprinkle the dry ingredients over the melted butter mixture and fold them in with your favorite wooden spoon. The dough should be thick and move like plasticity: somewhere between a liquid and a solid. Leave the dough in the pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before baking. You can refrigerate overnight, but if you choose to do so, make sure you cover the dough after the two hour period to avoid a “crusting” of the dough which means the outer-most layer will dry out and harden.



After the dough has rested for two hours, pour the remaining ½ cup of granulated sugar in a 9” pie or cake pan. Now spoon out tablespoon sized balls of the dough, rolling between the palms of your hands until they resemble wooden marbles. Roll the balls in the sugar, being sure to evenly coat them.






Arrange the balls of dough onto your cookie sheet with at least 1 ½” between them as they will spread during the baking process. Bake for 8 minutes at 325°F; over-baking will cause the cookies to be overly crisp.


Makes 3 dozen cookies.


These cookies keep very well in an airtight container for up to two weeks.





Here are pictures of the two-year day planner Hannah made for me, making it the best Christmas gift I've received in I don't know how long. How lucky am I to have such a talented assistant? Not only a fine baker, a fine artist...she's the perfect combination for me!

She also happens to sell these custom-made planners on her etsy web site. Click on the link below to see all the amazing collages and crafts she has to offer...

www.HannCraftedHannMade.etsy.com

1 comment:

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