Monday, December 24, 2007

Gifts for Shelby


This is what I made Shelby (see her far superior artwork at greenwheeldesign.com) for Christmas. She loves Dia de Los Muertos art and handmade gifts. She got me a funny-print oven mitt, plus a subscription to Martha Stewart's little cooking magazine, plus a book marker for my cookbooks!

I have the coolest friends.

Finally Perfect Honey Ginger Molasses Christmas Cookies


It's taken me 6 years to perfect this recipe. I based it off a recipe from a Family Circle Magazine (i think?) but it was terrible, with 6 cups of flour and teeth-chipping consistency. Each year I make them at Christmas with a little less flour, then a little more molasses, then brown sugar instead of white, then with or without an icing...

This year I've got it perfected, so here you go. Great as gifts, and they really stay chewy for a long time due to the molasses and honey. I use a light lemon royal icing; however that's just my weird taste and I think they're more traditional sans icing.

½ cup molasses
½ cup honey
½ cup Butter-flavored Crisco
1 cup sugar— ½ brown, ½ white if possible
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp clove
3 and 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Sift together all the flour and spices, then in a separate bowl mix the molasses, honey, eggs, shortening, and sugars. Once those are creamed together evenly, stir in the dry ingredients, about a cup at a time. A cookie dough attachment and a mixer would make this work easier, but it’s exercise for the arms to fight the dough once it’s thick enough.
Refrigerate, then roll into balls and smush lightly onto a greased baking pan or parchment on a baking pan. Bake 8-10 min at 350°F. These can be crunchy if baked longer, but I prefer them chewy. Another option is to roll them out and cookie-cut them into shapes. That will definitely cause them to be crunchier.