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This is from Maida Heatter's New Book of Great Desserts. They are a good cookie for traveling or mailing. The dough should be refrigerated overnight before the cookies are rolled, cut and baked. Allow plenty of time for baking since they are only baked 4 at a time. Prep times are only approximate. You mileage will vary.
- 4 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 3⁄4 teaspoon clove
- 3⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1⁄4 teaspoon mace
- 1⁄4 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper (optional)
- 6 ounces unsalted butter
- 3⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 cup dark molasses or 1 cup light molasses
- 1⁄3 cup mixed water (amounts can vary to your taste, or use all of any one, or try 1 Tablespoon instant coffee dissolved) or 1⁄3 cup coffee (amounts can vary to your taste, or use all of any one, or try 1 Tablespoon instant coffee dissolved) or 1⁄3 cup dark rum (amounts can vary to your taste, or use all of any one, or try 1 Tablespoon instant coffee dissolved)
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, mace, allspice and optional black pepper.
- Set aside.
- In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until it softens.
- Add the sugar and beat to mix.
- Beat in the molasses.
- Then, on low speed, add about half of the dry ingredients, scraping the bowl as necessary with a rubber spatula and beating until mixed.
- Beat in the water or coffee and rum, and then the remaining dry ingredients.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate until it is firm enough to be handled.
- Then divide into thirds and wrap each piece in plastic wrap: refrigerate overnight.
- When you are ready to bake, adjust a rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F.
- Cut aluminum foil to fit cookie sheets, and place on sheets.
- Flour a pastry cloth and a rolling pin, using more rather than less flour.
- Unwrap one of the packages of dough and place it on the cloth.
- Pound it a bit with the rolling pin to soften it slightly.
- Turn it over to flour both sides.
- Work very quickly because the dough will become sticky and unmanageable if it softens too much.
- Roll out in all directions until the dough is 1/4-inch thick.
- Quickly cut with a floured 5-inch round cutter.
- Use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to the foil.
- Quickly and carefully place them about 1 inch apart on the foil, about 4 per sheet.
- Press scraps together and re chill (freezer is O. K.), the re roll and cut.
- Bake one sheet at a time for 13-15 minutes, reversing the sheet from front to back during baking, to ensure even baking.
- Watch these very carefully- they must not burn even a bit on the bottoms or it will spoil the taste.
- If they seem to be browning too much on the bottoms, be prepared to slide an extra cookie sheet under the one that is baking.
- Or raise the rack slightly higher in the oven (but I have found that if I bake these higher, they crack. It is only minor, but it does not happen when they are baked on the middle rack- that is why I only bake these one sheet at a time).
- Be very careful not to over bake these cookies.
- They will become firmer as they cool, and they should remain a bit soft and chewy in the middle.
- If you use a smaller cookie cutter, the cookies will probably bake in slightly less time.
- Slide the foil off the sheet and let stand for a few minutes (meanwhile, slide the cookie sheet under another piece of foil with cookies on it and place in oven).
- Use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a rack to cool.
- Since these are so large, if the rack is not raised enough (at least 1/2 inch or more), place the rack on any right-side up bowl or pan to make room for more air to circulate underneath.
- When completely cool, store these airtight.
- I wrap them, two to three a package, bottoms together, in clear cellophane.
I cannot say enough about how delicious these are. Do not let the long list of instructions scare you off-they're not very hard to make at all. First, I wanted to use rum as a flavoring, but when it was time to add it, I discovered we were all out. So I threw caution to the wind and used tequila. Sounds strange, but the flavor of these cookies is amazing. They don't taste like tequila, just a mellow, warm and spicy cookie. I made the dough one afternoon, and had it chilling in the fridge until the next night. Seeing as how I was getting to making them very late at night, I skipped the cookie cutter step. I took 1/3 of the dough at a time,(it really does warm up quickly, so you want to keep the rest chilled) rolled it out, and used a decorative pastry cutter to just cut square (approx. 4") cookies out of the sheets. No muss, no fuss, so re-rolling scraps, and you can fit more on the pan that way, as they don't spread out during baking. Do make sure you rotate the sheets during cooking time, for even baking. Depending on the thickness you roll out..thin was about 5-6 minutes, rotate for another 5-6 minutes. I had some thicker ones that baked for about 7 minutes, rotated the pan, and baked for 7 minutes more. Baked on parchment paper, they were perfect, with even cooking on the bottoms. Nice crispy cookies. The smell while these are baking is heavenly, as is the flavor of the cookies. My whole family loves them, even my kids. Thanks s'kat! (Pick Your Chef, round 2)
Coffee in a Joe Frogger? Old Joe would roll in his grave! And where is the rum? The soda should be mixed with the molasses, not blended in with the other dry ingredients.
S'kat, these are amazing. Made them recently for some cookie packages I put together and they were a hit. I definitely agree that these MUST NOT be overbaked! I absolutely adore the spicy flavor of these cookies. Absolutely let it chill for the recommended length or longer, too. These were wonderful, S'kat--thanks for another great recipe.