A New Season?
Today is Jan. 6, the Feast of the Epiphany. The twelve days of Christmas have come and gone. I’ve packed away the holiday snow scenes and frosted decorations. I’ve turned the page on my calendar and started making plans for a new year. I’ve even turned in my favorite Christmas music and loaded an active playlist for a new season.
Meanwhile it seems Mother Nature has a few more verses of those wintry carols to sing. Word is - it’s going to snow! Friends are texting snowflake emojis. Atlanta schools announced they would be closing two hours early and my husband’s office followed suit. Everyone is grabbing provisions and hurrying home to burrow in for the weekend. This town is determined not to see a repeat of the Snowpocalypse of 2014!
Luckily, I think we have all the supplies we need to make it through a snowy weekend. Burrowing in will give me a chance to clean out the kitchen and think of new ways to use up some of the ingredients left over from holiday shopping. It will also provide an opportunity to savor some of the high points of the season I was too busy to linger over at the time.
One of those high points was a new recipe for Gingerbread Cookies. I didn’t take the time to post about it when I first made them. My to-do list was long and my thoughts were scattered. But now that I have a few moments, I think I’ll add it to my list of favorites.
As it turns out, I also have a few of these tasty Gingerbread Cookies stashed away in the back of the freezer for just such an occasion. There is no need to set them out to thaw. These few remaining Christmas cut-outs are delicious still frosty from the freezer and gingerly dipped into a mug of hot coffee. In fact, that’s the way I like them best: the crunchy sparkling sugar crystals glistening, the ginger cookie coldly resistant when dipped, barely warmed but not soggy with coffee, the cinnamon and ginger leaving a spicy note of fire on my lips and tongue…
3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ginger
½ teaspoon cloves
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
¾ cup molasses
2 Tablespoons milk
In the bowl of a large food processor, add flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Process until combined, about 10 seconds. Scatter butter pieces over the flour mixture. Process until the mixture resembles fine meal, about 15 seconds. With machine running, gradually add the molasses and milk. Continue running until a dough is formed, about 10 seconds.
Turn the dough onto countertop or other work surface. Divide dough in quarters. Working with 1 portion of dough at a time, roll the dough to ¼-inch thickness between two sheets of parchment paper. Stack the rolled out dough sandwiched between its parchment sheet coverings on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer (15 to 20 minutes) or in the refrigerator (2 hours or overnight) until firm.
Once firm, remove one sheet of cookie dough and place it on a work surface. Peel the top layer of parchment from the dough. Sprinkle a very small amount of flour on the dough and lay the sheet of parchment over top. Turn the sheet of dough over and peel away the second sheet of parchment.
Using cookie cutters, cut dough shapes. Place the shapes 1 inch apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with decorative sugar, if desired.
Bake cookies in a preheated oven at 350F about 8 to 10 minutes, for soft cookies. For crisper cookies roll the dough a bit thinner before cutting and bake at 325F for 15 to 20 minutes.
Cool cookies on cookie sheets for 2 minutes then remove to a wire rack with a wide spatula to cool completely.
Repeat with the remaining sheets of cookie dough. Scraps can be rerolled and cut into shapes.